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IRISH AMERICA Brian Dennehy • The McNulty Family • Sean O’Casey • Stars of the South • Thomas Cahill

Window on the Past

Sean Sexton’s Collection of Rare Irish Photographs


Oct./Nov. 2010 Canada $4.95 U.S. $3.95

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We invite you to learn about giving back to the land that has given us so much. Please visit www.irlfunds.org



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October / November 2010 • Vol. 25 No. 6






47 The McNulty Family’s Irish Show Boat Sails Again: The legacy of one of the most popular entertainment groups of the 20th century. Story and interview by Sheila Langan. 52 Stars of the South: Our fifth annual celebration of the Irish in the Southern United States. 59 Dennehy’s Journey Into O’Neill: Brian Dennehy talks

about how being an Irish American informs his roles in O’’Neill’’s works. By Aliah O’’Neill.


31 The Irish Collection and the Eye of the Collector: Sean Sexton, the Photo Historian of Ireland. By Marilyn Cole Lownes.

6 8 10 14 28 68 70 76 78 82

The First Word Readers Forum Hibernia Irish Eye on Hollywood Quotes Theater Books Crossword Those We Lost Photo Album

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTS 39 Titanic Belfast: Architecture for a New Age by Turlough McConnell. Presented by Titanic Foundation.

55 Experience Northern Ireland: Titanic and More By Turlough McConnell.

62 The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald: Tom Deignan reflects on the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the ““Mighty Fitz.”” 66 Playwright Sean O’Casey and The Abbey Theatre: An Enduring Legacy. By Stephen Fearon. 72 Civilization Then and Now: Author Thomas Cahill on the 15th anniversary of How The Irish Saved Civilization. By Kara Rota. 74 Blow, Winds, Blow: Edythe Preet cooks up the perfect food to weather a storm. COVER PHOTO: Women in Galway. Sepia toned positive c. 1900. Sean Sexton Collection CENTER PHOTO THIS PAGE: Knock, Co. Mayo. c. 1855. Our Lady appeared here in 1879 at a time of great hardship in the area. Note the girl in white and the crutches on the gable end of the church.



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{the first word}

By Patricia Harty

““Of what use are lens and light to those who lack in mind and sight?”” – Sean Sexton, quoting from a 16th-century Latin text.


ne of the more difficult tasks I’’ve Mike Quill also came to mind. Quill undertaken as your editor was fought in Ireland’’s War of Independence as making a selection from Sean a lad of 14. Making his way to New York Sexton’’s vast collection of photographs to in 1926 at age 21, he found employment showcase in this issue. (Read Marilyn Cole working on the construction of the new IND Lownes’’ interview with Sean, pg. 31.) subway line –– 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of his 20,000 Irish photographs, dating He went on to form the Transit Workers from the mid-1800s to the 1930s, Sean Union in 1934. picked 125 for me to choose from. Over Of course, no mention of Labor Day is many transatlantic phone conversations as we worked out the details, I came to appreciate both Sean’’s knowledge of world history and his commitment to protecting his collection. The photographs are proof of what happened in Ireland. They ““bear witness at the court of human experience [against the pen of revisionist historians]”” he says. And so it was that on Labor Day, while friends were taking in the final day of summer on the beach, I was in the office, downloading photographs and taking in scenes of evictions and revolution. Did I mind spending my Labor Day indoors in the ““dark room”” of Ireland’’s history? No way. It was a moving experience; a rare opportunity to delve into the past and put a face to the reports of what happened. But since it was Labor Day, I did pause to consider the contribution This photograph complete without a salute to an Irish lad that the Irish had made to the American of Mother Jones, who left for from 1900 labor movement. It was Peter McGuire reminds me that America in her teens when the who first proposed a national holiday 21 percent of Great Famine swept through for workers. Born to Irish immigrants American her village of Inchigeelagh, children live on the Lower East Side, New York City, below the Co. Cork. Jones, who lost her in 1852, Peter became the breadwin- poverty line husband and children to yellow ner for his family at 11 when his today. fever in 1867, and most of her father was off fighting with the Union possessions in the great Chicago fire, turned Army. For a while he made his living as an to politics and went on to become a major itinerant carpenter traveling around the figure in the labor movement. She is especountry. Eventually he went on to become cially remembered for her work with minthe co-founder of the American Federation ers and the plight of child laborers. of Labor, and propose a day honoring those As I worked my way through Sean’’s who ““from rude nature have delved and collection, expecting at any moment to carved all the grandeur we behold.”” come across a photograph of Mother Jones



A Window on the Past Pulls the Present into Focus

as a child, I thought about how all those leaders had been informed by the past. How what happened in Ireland, and their own experiences of want and hardship, had given them empathy for others and a determination to bring about change. Later, as I walked home still musing on the past, wondering if I had made the right selections, gotten across the importance of Sean’’s collection, and what design problems would be posed by his admonition ““No cropping. It’’s the whole score or nothing. You wouldn’’t edit Mozart,”” I was brought back to the present by a man asking if I could spare some change. As I rooted in my wallet for a couple of dollars, I listened to his story of a job lost –– he hadn’’t eaten in two days and was about to lose his apartment. Where are our documentary photographers of today? I wondered. Are they off chasing Lindsay Lohan or some other celebrity? Who will bear witness to what’’s happening, put a face on poverty and help us see beyond the statistics and the reports? In truth, isn’’t it easier to get lost in all the modern distractions, in sound bites and ““reality shows”” than to face reality? To turn the channel when some ““serious”” news comes on? To look at a 150-year-old photograph of a homeless person than to meet one in the flesh? And yet, I return to Sean’’s photographs, and through them I can more clearly see the present. When I look at Sean’’s images of evictions, I consider anew the word ““foreclosure”” and what it means in human terms today. The photographs remind me, as a reader writes in this issue, ““It’’s a wonder we survived at all.”” And in a strange way, in this gallery of the past, I find hope. Because we did survive. We did, and we will.



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The June/July issue of Irish America was the best ever. I read every article regarding An Gorta Mor. The issue was very informative. It is amazing that we Irish are alive after all the hardships inflicted by the British down through the centuries, and they are still in the North of Ireland. Congratulations to Irish America for the history of the Famine and keeping our heritage alive and well. Thank you and keep up the good work. Maureen Devaney. Received by e-mail

THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER NEEDS A FITTING MEMORIAL Thomas Francis Meagher was one of Ireland’’s great patriots and a leader of Irish Americans. After fighting for Irish independence, for which he was condemned to death, then had his sentence commuted to exile, Meagher escaped to America, where he became a leader of the Irish community. He commanded the Irish Brigade during the Civil War. After the war, President Andrew Johnson appointed Meagher acting governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, while serving in that office, Meagher, under mysterious circumstances, disappeared on the Missouri River. His body was never found. His widow, Elizabeth Townsend Meagher, who converted to her husband’’s religion of Roman Catholicism while he was still alive, lamented to her dying day that her husband had no final resting place. She is interred at historic GreenWood Cemetery in Brooklyn, a 478-acre

cemetery that was established in 1838 and is now a National Historic Landmark. We would like to install a fitting memorial to this Irish-American hero at GreenWood. Ron Tunison, the internationally renowned sculptor who created the bronze portrait of General Meagher for the Irish Brigade Monument at the Antietam Civil War battlefield, is the sculptor of the bronze relief of Meagher that we would like to place at Green-Wood. We need your help to make this a reality. Won’’t you help us honor this great Irish hero? For organizational donors of least $3,000 and individual donors of $500 or more, your name will be inscribed on the monument in recognition of your support. You also will be an honored guest at the reception here at Green-Wood for the unveiling of the memorial. In addition, you will receive a certificate that documents your support and proclaims one of Meagher’’s most famous statements: ““They who have lived to serve their country –– no matter how weak their efforts may have been ––

Not so Funny!

Daniel Tosh of the Tosh.O show on Comedy Central referred to Ireland as “the birthplace of white trash.” As a comedian, I know the difference between what’s funny and what’s a blatantly racist statement. I urge readers to contact Comedy Central, and let them know the sons of Ireland are listening, and are outraged. Erik Shannon Moore, Received by e-mail 8 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Pictured: Daniel Tosh of Tosh.O. The show airs on Comedy Central at 10:30 Pacific Time.

are sure to receive the thanks and blessings of its people.”” To support the creation of this memorial, please make your donation. For further information, please contact Michael Burke at (718) 344-2771. You can contribute online at www.greenwood.com/donate or by contacting Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman at jeffrichman@green-wood.com or at (718) 210-3017. Michael Burke Chair, Meagher Monument Committee Received by e-mail

WHY DO THE IRISH ACCEPT THE O.B.E.? In the Readers Forum in the August/ September issue is the question ““Why do the Irish accept the O.B.E.?”” Perhaps it is the lingering urge to remain close to and to ape their departed former colonial masters? Also in the sidebar [to that letter] is the statement that ““Britain’’s Queen Elizabeth will visit Ireland in 2011, the first British monarch to do so since Ireland gained independence in 1921.”” The latter part of that statement mirrors the politicians in the Republic of Ireland, and others, who tend to use the phrase ““since Ireland gained independence.”” This is a fiction as Ireland did not gain its independence in 1921. A large portion of the island did, but a significant portion did not, resulting, as we all know, in ongoing violence and bloodshed. The use of accurate language results in rational discussion, while failure to describe a situation as it really is leaves a neutral observer no option but to think of us Irish as psychotic. Sad! Brian Breathnach Victoria British Columbia Canada



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Sheila Langan is an editorial assistant and a writer at Irish America. She is a 2010 graduate of Bard College, where she studied literature, completed an undergraduate thesis on visual art in Irish author John Banville’’s novels, and was selected

Founding Publisher: Niall O’Dowd Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief: Patricia Harty Vice President of Marketing: Kate Overbeck Director of Special Projects: Turlough McConnell Art Director: Marian Fairweather Assistant Editor: Kara Rota Copy Editor: John Anderson

Marilyn Cole Lownes, who interviewed Sean Sexton (pictured above with Lownes) for this issue, has been writing for Irish America since 1998, when she interviewed Deanna Dempsey, widow of boxing legend Jack. She has also contributed to British Esquire, The London Observer and The Times of London, for which she interviewed Roman Polanski and Woody Allen.

Tom Deignan, who writes on the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald for this issue, is a columnist at Irish America and The Irish Voice, where he was an editor from 1999-2004. He is the author of Irish American: Coming to America, and currently teaches English at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn.

Pride In Our Heritage

Advertising & Events Coordinator: Kerman Patel Financial Controller: Kevin M. Mangan

to tutor inmates pursuing college degrees with the Bard Prison Initiative. She spent every summer of her childhood with her grandparents in Co. Kerry, Ireland and studied for a semester at Trinity College Dublin.

Writers: Tara Dougherty Sheila Langan Aliah O’Neill Marketing Interns: Dianne Nora Erica Canning

IRISH AMERICA 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2100, New York NY 10001 TEL: 212-725-2993 FAX: 212-244-3344

Aliah O’Neill, who interviewed Brian Dennehy on receiving this year’’s Eugene O’’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, earned her MA in Irish and IrishAmerican Studies at New York University in January 2010. She graduated in May 2008 with degrees in English and Philosophy from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She currently resides in Brooklyn where she spends her time writing and listening to music.

Write to us Send a fax (212-244-3344), e-mail (irishamag@aol.com) or mail (Letters, Irish America Magazine, 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10001). Letters should include the writer’’s full name and address and phone number and may be edited for clarity and space.

Subscriptions: 1-800-582-6642 E-MAIL: irishamag@aol.com WEB: http://www.irishamerica.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099 5277. Editorial office: 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212 725-2993. Fax: 212-244-3344 E-mail: Irishamag@aol.com. Subscription rate is $21.95 for one year. Subscription orders: 1-800-5826642. Subscription queries: 1-800582-6642, (212) 725-2993, ext. 150. Periodicals postage paid at New York and additional mailing offices. Postmaster please send address changes to Irish America Magazine, P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. IRISH AMERICA IS PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.




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{ hibernia }



Portraits of Irish Writers in Boston Boston College’s McMullen Museum showcases a compelling collection of portraits of Irish writers as depicted by Irish artists.


ver the past several centuries, a number of Irish artists have produced compelling portraits of Irish writers in painting, sculpture and photography, and now for the first time, those collected works are on view in the United States. Entitled ““Literary Lives: Portraits from the Crawford Art Gallery and Abbey Theatre, Ireland,”” the exhibition is comprised of 49 works and runs through December 5, 2010, at Boston College’’s McMullen Museum. Peter Murray, director of the Crawford Gallery, Cork, and cocurator, explains that the show has a dual purpose: ““The works of art in this exhibition celebrate literary achievements, but they also celebrate the talents of Irish visual artists. The painters, photographers, and sculptors who created these portraits give an insight both into the writer’’s world and also into the way in which they were seen by those around them.”” Murray goes on to explain that in many cases TOP: Robert Ballagh the subject and the artist knew each other and (1943–), Portrait of that ““often the portraits are an expression of Laurence Sterne. respect. RIGHT: James Sinton Sleator (1889–1950), ““Jonathan Swift is depicted by his friend Portrait of John Francis Bindon, while over two centuries later, Millington Synge. the poet Micheal O’’Siadhail is painted by his Collection of Abbey friend Michael O’’Deal. Patrick Hennessy’’s porTheatre / Amharclann Na Mainistreach trait of Elizabeth Bowen is clearly a celebration




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FAR LEFT: Gerald Festus Kelly (1879–1972), Portrait of Lady Gregory. Collection of Abbey Theatre / Amharclann Na Mainistreach LEFT: Michael Farrell (1940– 2000), James Joyce's Tie, 38/75 (I Don't Mind How You Paint My Soul, But Get the Tie Correct), 1991. The Collection of The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon

of the writer’’s home and heritage, while Norah McGuinness’’ image of Frank O’’Connor is an intimate portrayal of one of Cork’’s greatest writers.”” In addition to the visuals provided entirely by Irish artists, the exhibit also includes a range of books, manuscripts, letters and illustrations from Boston College’’s John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections, which add to the experience. Prof. Marjorie Howe of BC’’s Irish Studies program explains that the artifacts from the Burns Library ““examine how different objects embody aspects of a literary life.”” The museum, located in Delvin Hall on Boston College’’s Chestnut Hill campus, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. For more information on extended hours and holiday closings visit www.bc.edu/artmuseum or call (617) 552-8100. – Tara Dougherty

ABOVE: Robert Ballagh (1943–), Portrait of Patrick Kavanagh, 2003. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork FAR LEFT: Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915–80), Portrait of Elizabeth Bowen at Bowenscourt, 1957. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork LEFT: Suzy O’Mullane (1958–), Portrait of Aidan Higgins, 2002. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork




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New Rose of Tralee Is First of Indian Descent


rom August 20th to the 24th, 100,000 visitors gathered in Tralee, Co. Kerry to watch 32 Roses vie in friendly competition in the 2010 Rose of Tralee Festival. The Roses came from as close as Dublin and Cork and as far as New Zealand and Dubai to participate in all the festivities of the festival’’s 52nd year. After a weeklong tour around Ireland, the accomplished young women arrived in Tralee for the Rose Ball, the parade, and the two nights of televised interviews and performances that make up the heart of the competition. The Rose of Tralee festival originated in 1959. It was inspired by the traditional naming of a Carnival Queen during the summer fair, and appreciation for the famous local song, ““The Rose of Tralee.”” The song was written in the 19th century by William Mulchinock, a wealthy merchant whose love for a woman named Mary, a maid at his family’’s house, was forbidden due to their class differences. He emigrated, spending a few years in India as a war correspondent. But, unable to forget Mary, he returned to Tralee a few years later, only to find that she had died from tuberculosis. The song commemorates his love for her, ““Mary, the Rose of Tralee,”” and has come to be the song of the town and its annual festival. In the early years, Roses had to be natives of Tralee, but the rules were later amended so that any girl of Irish birth or ancestry could compete. This makes the festival a particularly emotional and enlightening experience for many of the Roses, some of whom are second- or third-generation Irish and have never before been to Ireland. During the two nights of live TV footage, the young women, their escorts, their families and their fans gathered in the Rose Dome. The events were hosted by Irish TV presenter and personality Dáithi O’’Sé. Each Rose was interviewed by O’’Sé and then had the option of doing a performance to display a talent. Some opted to sing or play an instrument, while others did more


unique performances, such as a German rendition of ““The Wild Rover”” and a reel danced to Men At Work’’s ““Down Under.”” At the end of the last night, the London Rose, Clare Kambamettu, was named the 2010 Rose of Tralee. Kambamettu, who lives in London and is an assistant psychologist at a substance misuse service, was born in Leeds but grew up in Athy, Co. Kildare. Her mother is Irish and her father is Indian, which makes her the first Rose of Tralee of Indian descent. During her year as The Rose of Tralee, Kambamettu will represent the festival at various venues and plans to work with charities in Ireland and India. Footage from the festival can be IA viewed on roseoftralee.ie/tv – Sheila Langan

LEFT: The 2010 Rose of Tralee, Clare Kambamettu. BELOW: Irish TV presenter and personality Dáithi O’Sé poses with the Roses.



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{ irish eye on hollywood} Tom Deignan reports on upcoming movies of Irish and Irish-American interest.

The astonishing true story of IrishCork countryside, getting into trouble American crusader Betty Anne Waters is with local elders. expected to hit screens this fall, in a film entiYoung Paco (Jamie Kiernans) is fascinated by space and flying, which tled Conviction, which stars Hillary Swank, Minnie Driver and Juliette Lewis, as well helps keep his mind off of his absent as Irish American Peter Gallagher, who Spanish father. Paco’’s mom (Condon) played the role of a quirky priest in the most works late hours to pay the bills. She recent season of Denis Leary’’s FX drama tucks her son into bed, but only after she Rescue Me. plays a record of Spanish language lesIn Conviction, currently slated for an sons. One evening, while scanning the October 15 release, two-time Academy skies, Paco sees a plane crash. The pilot Award winner Swank plays Betty Anne is Ernesto, a mysterious Colombian Waters, a busy, working mother from (Bichir). Paco is the only young boy in Massachusetts whose brother Kenneth was Kenneth Waters and his sister the village who can speak even rudimenarrested and jailed for life on murder charges. Betty Anne, who lobbied for his tary Spanish –– a fact which he manipuWaters goes on a crusade to free her brother, release from prison. Hillary Swank lates so that the pilot will stick around. even going to school in Rhode Island to will play Betty Anne in Conviction. Paco, after all, sees Ernesto as a friend, obtain a law degree. In the end, Waters helps not to mention as a father figure. secure her brother’’s release from prison. The early buzz is Thanks to Paco’’s (fabricated) description of Ernesto’’s that Conviction could earn another Academy Award nominaplight, the town rallies around efforts to fix Ernesto’’s plane. If tion for Swank. This isn’’t the first time Swank has played an this sounds like it strains credulity, it does only slightly. The Irish American; she won an Oscar as Maggie Fitzgerald in chilly locals warm up not only to Ernesto, but to each other. the 2004 boxing tragedy Million Dollar Baby, directed by This includes Paco’’s mom, who may or may not be developClint Eastwood, and based on the fiction of F.X. Toole, ing a crush on the suave Colombian. whose father was an Irish immigrant. But Ernesto, it turns out, is not a helpless innocent. He’’s been involved in some shady dealings which, when they are Back in July, a charming little movie entitled The Runway revealed, may push the locals to turn against him. This tension fuels The Runway, and the ultimate resolution is rousing and took the 22nd annual Galway Film Festival by storm, and heartfelt. When not focusing on conflicted young Paco, ended up winning Best Irish Feature Film. The film is lookwriter-director Ian Power takes us on a tour of the colorful ing to get a distribution deal and release in the U.S., and locals, including a spacy radio DJ, scheming politician, hardAmerican critics were recently given a peek at the flick, hearted merchant and Paco’’s best friend Frogs (John which is set in 1980s Cork and stars Tipperary native Kerry Condon (The Last Station, Intermission, Angela’’s Ashes) Carpenter), a traveler whose family earns a living laying taralongside Mexican actor Demian Bichir (Che, as well as mac –– a skill which comes in handy by the end of the film. Showtime’’s Weeds). No one is going to confuse The Runway with, say, In the The Runway is ““kind of”” based on a true story, according to Name of the Father. But it is a delightful story just the same. the film’’s opening credits. In the film, two boys wander the Keep an eye out for its American release date.

Ernesto (Demian Bichir) and Paco (Jamie Kierans) in The Runway.

Kerry Condon also recently signed on to play a role in the upcoming HBO series pilot Luck, which takes a close look at the horse racing industry. Dustin Hoffman is slated to star. The pilot of the series will be directed by film veteran Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider). Rooney Mara –– a grandchild of the prominent Irish-American National Football League stalwarts Tim Mara and Art Rooney, hence her name –– is about to take Hollywood by storm, appearing in four new films. Mara has already shot appearances in The Social Network (due out October 1) as well as the upcoming Winning Season and Tanner Hall. And Mara –– whose sister Kate is a well-known TV and film actress –– has gotten lots of attention for nabbing the




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Rooney Mara, seen here in Social Network, will star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

plum role of Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the best-selling thriller of the same name by the late author Stieg Larsson. The movie is set for a 2011 release and will be directed by David Fincher, best known for controversial films such as Fight Club and Se7en, as well as the aforementioned Social Network. (The excellent Swedish version of The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second of Larsson’’s bestselling trilogy, is currently in cinemas with Swedish actors Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist, who also starred in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). Speaking of Kate Mara, she will appear in Danny Boyle’’s next movie 127 Hours, slated for a November release. Boyle, born in Manchester, England, to Irish Catholic parents, has become a wunderkind, directing successful films in all sorts of genres, including the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, sci-fi flicks such as 28 Days Later, gritty fare such as Trainspotting and more mainstream works such as A Life Less Ordinary and Millions. 127 Hours, which also stars James Franco and Amber Tamblyn, is based on Aron Ralston’’s book describing his survival after becoming trapped under a boulder while he was hiking in Colorado. Also in November, the latest Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 will hit theaters just before Thanksgiving. There will, as the title indicates, be a second part to this final installment of the Harry Potter films, based on J.K. Rowling’’s best-selling books. Though the Potter series is a thoroughly British creation, the Irish are once again well represented in the cast. Veteran Irish thespians such as Fiona Shaw and Ciaran Hinds will appear next to Irish upand-comers Evanna Lynch and Dhomnall Gleeson

(Brendan’’s son). Dhomnall Gleeson, incidentally, is among the Irish talent planning to lend itself to an ambitious film adaptation of the classic, if difficult, Flann O’’Brien novel At Swim-Two-Birds. Gleeson’’s appearance in the film makes a certain amount of sense. The director, after all, is his father, Brendan, one of the most reliable Irish acting talents of his day. A galaxy of Irish stars have been linked to the At Swim-TwoBirds project, including (take a deep breath) Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Myers and Michael Fassbender. At Swim-TwoBirds, an absurdist story about fictional characters rebelling against their creator, was published in 1939 by writer Brian O’’Nolan, under the pseudonym Flann O’’Brien. (O’’Nolan was also known as Miles na gCopaleen, and published works such as The Third Policeman and An Beal Bocht.) Brendan Gleeson’’s directorial debut at the helm of At Swim-Two-Birds is expected to wrap up next year.

In TV news, with only one season of Rescue Me remaining, FX may be looking to get another Irish-American hit onto the airwaves. In January, the cable network will introduce a new boxing drama entitled Lights Out. The series features Holt McCallany as an IrishAmerican former champ who is down on his luck. Lights Out was influenced heavily by Rocky and other famous boxing flicks such as Cinderella Man (2005) based on the true story of James Fiona Shaw, who J. Braddock, a tough Irish kid who had will appear in a real-life comeback story when, as a Harry Potter and scrappy underdog past his prime, he the Deathly Hallows. fought Max Baer to win the World Heavyweight championship. Another Irish actor, Donal Logue, can be seen on FX right now in the cop comedy-drama Terriers. AMC, which is enjoying great success with Mad Men (and great performances from Jared Harris (son of the late Richard Harris), and John Slattery, born in Boston), is planning a new western series called Hell on Wheels, which will feature Pacific actor Ben Esler in the role of an Irish immigrant who opens an entertainment show for railroad workers. Hell on Wheels comes from True Blood producer Alan Ball and is about a former Confederate soldier in search of Union soldiers who killed his wife. Finally, Irish-American actress Amy Ryan will join Gabriel Byrne for the third season of HBO’’s In Treatment. Ryan was also seen in the September film Jack Goes IA Boating. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 15



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A Hero Remembered


ine years ago, in the months following the September 11th attacks, the Lynch family from the Bronx, New York, made a commendable and remarkable choice. They had just lost Michael Francis Lynch: son, brother, uncle and fiancé; a firefighter who died during the rescue efforts in Tower 2. He was assigned to Engine 62, Ladder 32 in the Bronx but on September 11th he was on rotation to Engine 40, Ladder 35 on Manhattan’’s Upper West Side. He arrived at the World Trade Center with twelve other firefighters, only one of whom survived. They were among the first to reach the scene, and television footage gave a last glimpse of Michael entering Building 4, near the south tower. After months of hoping for a recovery of Michael’’s body, the Lynches received news that it had been found in the wreckage of the second tower. In a vivid testament to Michael’’s determination to protect others, his remains were interwoven with those of a woman he had been shielding. The family was in deep mourning. But, in the midst of their grief, they made the decision that they were going to help people. ““We wanted to respond to evil by doing good for others,”” said Michael’’s father, Jack Lynch, in a recent conversation. ““We thought that was the best way to honor our son and brother; it’’s what he would have wanted.”” In 2002, they founded the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, which has become one of the most successful and enduring scholarship organizations. Each year, the foundation grants scholarships to young adults who are the children of firefighters or who lost a parent on 9/11 or in another national disaster. In only eight years, through the generosity of corporations and individual donors, the Lynch family has raised $1.6 million to provide its scholarship recipients with


Above: Jack Lynch, center, with a field rescue worker and other fathers who joined rescue workers searching Ground Zero for the remains of their sons. Left: Michael Lynch.

educational opportunities. The number of awardees increased each year, as has the amount that each student receives. This year, the foundation raised $250,000 for its twelve new recipients, and thanks to its annual dinner in March, raised $500,000 extra. As the foundation proudly stated in its press release, this allowed them to ““increase the amount of the scholarship for all 42 current participants by 20% –– to $24,000 per year for four years.”” These generous grants allow awardees to pursue educational paths that might otherwise have been out of their reach. From nursing schools, to the Fashion Institute of Technology, to fouryear universities and colleges, the scholarships support a wide range of ambitions. The goal of the foundation, as explained in the recent release, is ““to provide the means to help change the

world, one person at a time, by helping students of today become tomorrow’’s stewards of peace and freedom.”” What’’s even more striking about the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation is that it’’s largely family-run. Jack serves as the president; Michael’’s sister-in-law, Lou Ann Eckert-Lynch, is in charge of the scholarship selection committee; other family members oversee the foundation’’s events and financial and legal concerns. The foundation is officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity, and an impressive 98% of donations go to the scholarship funds, with 2% going towards administrative fees. The family works strictly on a voluntary basis and, as Jack emphasized, they will ““make sure it remains that way.”” He added, ““We plan to always take the higher road.”” More information on the foundation and its upcoming events can be found at IA www.mlynch.org. – Sheila Langan



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Three Crazy Irish Guys on Bikes


hen three young Irishmen from Dublin and Wicklow decided to bike across the U.S. to join the fight to end cancer, two were already experts in crosscountry fundraising –– in 2007, Mark Leonard and Eoin McNamara completed a cycling tour of Ireland in 2007 and raised €€10,000 for the cause. This year, they joined their college friend William Kerwin to raise awareness and funds for

Mark and William have also competed in Olympic-distance triathlons. The trip was meticulously planned by the ““three crazy Irish guys on bikes,”” as Eoin dubs his crew, who originally intended to bike from Virginia to San Francisco. ““We moved the route north to Seattle to Washington, D.C., primarily to avoid the dry heat of the south,”” said Eoin. ““We also moved north to tap into the greater Irish community that populates the region. We want our cancer


Eoin McNamara, William Kerwin and Mark Leonard, who biked across America to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. Eoin dubs his team “three crazy Irish guys on bikes.”

the Irish Cancer Society and Lance Armstrong’’s LIVESTRONG Foundation. Inspired by family and friends affected by cancer, Eoin, Mark and Will traveled across 12 states in 49 days, covering 6,000 km (3,728 miles) between Seattle and Washington, D.C. The team adopted a rigorous training schedule in Dublin to prepare for the trip, getting up at 6 a.m. each day before work to do laps around Phoenix Park, followed by evening rides in North Dublin or the Wicklow Mountains. On weekends, they cycled for at least 100 km (about 62 miles) to prepare for the eight-hour daily regimen they kept during their travels. 18 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

awareness campaign to reach the communities we will travel through, and for that awareness to start at a grassroots level.”” Eoin was assigned the job of figuring out the specifics of the route –– what turns to take and which terrains to steer clear of over the course of each day. Trailed by drivers Rob Shiels and Donal Lucey, the team’’s trip ran from August 1 through September 18, but its campaign actually began months before in February. Recorded on the Cycle of America blog, the friends have held a variety of fundraising events to amass €€20,000 for these charities before they even left Ireland, with the ultimate goal

of €€30,000. They also held events in cities throughout their tour, ending with a party at the Doyle Dupont Hotel in Washington D.C. Mark, Eoin and William all paid 100% of the costs for their bicycles, their fare to America and all other expenses for the trip. Even prior to the journey, Eoin was excited to report that support remained strong on both sides of the Atlantic: ““The Irish-American response has been immense! But then again, the response from the majority of communities has been brilliant, and we haven’’t even left Ireland yet. So far we have organized free board in nearly three-quarters of the towns along our route in hotels, motels, and the houses of general well-wishers. This has really helped to keep down the cost of our adventure.”” All the donations to both the Irish Cancer Society and LIVESTRONG go to patient care and support services, which provide counseling for family members and friends of cancer patients. Sponsors included several hotels and bars, visitor bureaus and Irish American organizations, notably An Rí Rá Festival of Butte, Montana, the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh and the Chicago-based Irish American Heritage Center. The young men stayed over in all three cities with the support and encouragement of these institutions. The team also left its own unique mark on the communities that lent their support: in partnership with Plant Share Grow, an Irish-owned non-profit enterprise, Mark, Eoin and William handed out packets of shamrock seeds to as many people as possible along their journey. Though the cycle is now over, the team still encourages everyone to donate to Irish Cancer Society and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. You can also follow their route and reflections on the trip IA at cycleofamerica2010.com. – Aliah O’Neill



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Dublin, City of Literature

The GoIreland.com photography award went to Bernard O’Sullivan for this picture of Dublin.

An Eye For Ireland T ourists all over the world take pictures during their travels –– some snapping away indiscriminately, others stopping busy pedestrian traffic just to get the perfect shot. The majority of these photos wind up in photo albums and family slide shows, in shoeboxes and on assorted memory cards. Some, however, appear in international photography competitions. The GoIreland.com Photography Awards honor amateur tourist photography. Each year, the competition features photographs by both Irish sightseers and international visitors. Twelve winning images are chosen: one overall winner and eleven runners-up. The additional aim of the competition is to emphasize the many wonderful attractions that draw tourists to Ireland. On August 9, 2010, GoIreland.com announced the winning photograph of the 2009 competition: an evocative shot of Dublin’’s city center at night by Bernard O’’Sullivan from Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. O’’Sullivan captured a rare moment of quiet on O’’Connell Street, one of Dublin’’s busiest thoroughfares and one of the widest streets in Europe. The scene displays O’’Connell Street’’s shop-fronts, trees, streetlights, and a portion of The Spire –– Dublin’’s 398-foot stainless steel sculpture. All of these components play off of each other nicely in a mingling of historical and modern, natural and urban. The Photography Awards revolve around a new theme each year. For 2009, contestants were asked to submit images that highlighted the beauty of Ireland’’s villages, towns, and cities. Eleven runners-up were also announced: shots by tourists from Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Germany, featuring views of the Dublin Quays; Blennerville Windmill in Tralee, Co. Kerry; Cobh and Roches Point in Co. Cork; Galway Bay; Bunratty Castle in Co. Clare; Drogheda; Kinvara, Co Galway; Derry; Co. Donegal’’s Narin/Portnoo Blue Flag Beach and Sligo’’s Enniscrone Beach. The 2010 competition, which began just as the 2009 winner was announced, focuses on the theme of ““An Eye for Ireland,”” asking for photographs that capture a personal, unique view of Ireland. GoIreland.com will be accepting entries until December 15, 2010. Tourists who think they might have this year’’s winning shot can enter at www.goireland.com/photos. The site also contains information about rules and prizes.

On July 26, Dublin’s Lord Mayor Gerry Breen announced that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had named Dublin a UNECSO City of Literature. The title honors Dublin’s rich contributions to the written arts and recognizes its international importance as a city of great literary activity. Both natives of and visitors to Dublin can celebrate the city’s new accolade at various literary events in the coming months, such as Penguin Writer’s Day, the IMRAM Irish Language Festival, Roald Dahl Day and the Dublin Theatre Festival. The campaign for the title was led by the city’s library service. Dublin joins Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City in sharing this distinction, making it one of only four Cities of Liberature in the world. - Sheila Langan The Dublin Writers Museum at 18 Parnell Square.




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Brian Williams Tells Notre Dame Grads

“We Need Better Catholics” N BC Nightly News host Brian Williams served as Notre Dame’’s commencement speaker on May 17. In an address that contained a mix of humor and seriousness, he talked about the need to be better Catholics and patriots in the true sense of the word. ““Because I am Irish Catholic I have an instinctive need to begin right now with a confession. I don’’t have a degree of any kind. Not since Modern Day High School in Middletown, New Jersey. Confession is a great part of being Catholic or not. In thinking about it, it’’s a little like driving through midtown Manhattan –– stay with me here. It fills you with anxiety, you’’ve got to be ready for it, you have to wait for the lights, but when it’’s over you feel so much better. Of course I’’m old, so I’’m used to that old-school confessional style. Dark wood trim, the light over the door that was wired to the kneeler, and I always found it more than just vaguely disconcerting that anything was electronic inside a confessional. You stand in line, you’’re going over the list of your sins as you understand them. You go in, there’’s the ““Bless me, father,”” you wait to see the package of penance you’’re going to be offered. My late mother was very old school. She’’d go in and anytime Msgr. Robert T. Boleman would sneak a peek at her through the screen it was all over, end of conversation. She forgot everything she had planned to say. She always said until her death she didn’’t like priests who peeked, and so for years toward the end of her life, my hand to God (and in this stadium when you say that phrase you better mean it), we lived on the Jersey Shore. And she would get on the Jersey Shore Line, take the train to Penn Station in New York. She would walk through that exquisite sea of humanity in Penn Station and she’’d walk outside and around the corner to a small [St. Francis of Assassi] Catholic church on 31st Street where they didn’’t peek. And where all kinds of people come to talk about their sins. Much more impres-


sive sins than my mother ever had. She would go to confession there because, as she put it, ““No one knows me there.”” And she’’d get right back on the train and go back to New Jersey a cleansed soul. It did always make me wonder, what was my mother confessing that required a $7 train ride one way? Was it possible she was a member of the Gambino crime family? ““We patriots, and I’’m not talking here about TV patriots, whose belief is that if you say it loudly and often enough people will think you love your country more than you do. I’’m talking about those ordi-

nary patriots who wake up every day and love our country and believe it’’s the best place on Earth and the best idea on Earth. We patriots see the problem and we want it to get better. This involves you. And something else involves you: we need better Catholics. In this life, I’’ve lost a mother and a brother and a sister. And in each instance I found great comfort and solace in my church. I’’ve traveled the world and, sadly, that means I’’ve often walked through great destruction. I’’ve seen staggering loss, both natural and man-made, from Baghdad, to Banda Aceh, to Port Au Prince, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Where I’’ve come across people suffering and dying, I’’ve also come across Catholic charities, right there, standing alongside me, ministering and soothing, helping and healing without regard to self. Every one of them a shining, towering example of sacrifice and selflessness. Let’’s make that what people think of when they think of the Catholic Church in IA America and around the world.”” The above is an excerpt. You can watch Mr. Williams’’ complete address on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v= 1KEaXwPaGMk

Frank McCourt High School in Session On September 8, as a new year begins for New York City’s public school system, a new educational institution will open its doors and welcome its first ninth-grade class: The Frank McCourt High School. One of four new schools housed in the former Brandeis High School, which closed due to poor performance, Frank McCourt High School aims to embody all the qualities that the late McCourt possessed as a teacher, writer, and person. According to its profile on the NYC Board of Education’s website, the school’s writing-focused curriculum prepares students to be “articulate and effective communicators,” and pledges that “every student will graduate from Frank McCourt High School armed with the curiosity and intellect of a true life-long learner.” In addition to writing ’Tis, Teacher Man and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angela’s Ashes, McCourt worked in the NYC public school system for 29 years. He taught creative writing at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School and was known for his great skill as an educator. Though The Frank McCourt High School is not the first school in the city to be named after an acclaimed writer, it is the first ever to be named after a former public school teacher.

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{hibernia happenings} R.F.K. Schools Open in Los Angeles

The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex is built on the site of the former Ambassador Hotel.


eptember marked the opening of Los Angeles’’ Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. The complex of schools, which will house 4,200 students from kindergarten through high school, is built on the site of the former Ambassador Hotel –– the location of Robert F. Kennedy’’s assassination. Though the school’’s construction necessitated the demolition of the hotel, many of its features were preserved: a wall of the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub remains, and the coffee shop was turned into the faculty lounge. Murals commemorate the school’’s namesake and his vision, and a series of talking benches explain the site’’s history. The hotel had been abandoned for years before the Los Angeles Unified School District acquired it after a long negotiation process with the city and with Donald Trump, who wanted to build a skyscraper on the property. The impressive facility cost 578 million dollars to construct, making it the most expensive school in the country to date. –– Sheila Langan


HOUSE FOR SALE ASKING €2.00 One Michael Dempsey, a truck driver from Galway, built a fourbedroom house in rural Galway a few years ago in hopes of making some money for his retirement. At the height of the economic boom it was worth over €€320,000, but after the recession hit, Dempsey decided to put it on the market when the cost of keeping it became too great. It has been for sale for two years without any results. Fed up, Dempsey announced at the beginning of September that he is now asking €€2.00 for the property. He is considering all offers over €€1.00 and has already received attention and many offers from people all over the world, including the U.S., Nigeria, and Australia. – Sheila Langan.

A.O.H. Paves the Way

n July 7-11, 2010, the 95th biennial A.O.H. [Ancient has worked to make our shared objective of reunification a job Order of Hibernians] convention was held in under way.”” Cincinnati. Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’’s The Ancient Order of Hibernians is the largest Catholic First Deputy Minister, and Irish Ambassador to the U.S. organization in the United States, and the oldest. ““We have Michael Collins numbered among the speakers. 100,000 ‘‘family’’ members nationwide,”” Boyle ““We had about 2,000 people at the convention said. Ambassador Collins described the A.O.H. in Cincinnati, a little less than we had in New as ““an integral part of Irish America,”” saying Orleans in 2008,”” said Seamus Boyle, National ““the roots of this organization can be traced back President of A.O.H., who chaired the convento some of the darkest hours in Irish history.”” tion. ““It was a pleasure for me to have such Founded in 1836 as an attempt to aid and proprominent people as Martin McGuinness and tect the vast number of Irish immigrants from Irish Ambassador Michael Collins attend.”” attack by nativist groups, the A.O.H. continues to McGuinness, who helped run the workshop be at the forefront of issues concerning the Irish. on Freedom For All Ireland, chaired by Sean Ciaran Staunton, Irish Lobby for Immigration Pender from New Jersey, touched on reunificaReform co-founder, who attended the convention, Bloody Sunday and British Prime Minister tion, confirmed that the A.O.H. is staying true to David Cameron’’s acknowledgement of the its mandate, weighing in on the nation’’s current N.I. First Deputy Minister injustice, in his remarks. controversy over immigration. Staunton, who ““The people of Derry and the north are grate- Martin McGuinness. had traveled to 14 states to speak on immigraful for the support of the A.O.H. and L.A.O.H. who marched tion, said: ““In every state they [the A.O.H.] provided leaderloyally with us in Derry and who were part ship. If we had the same input from other national organizaof making the apology possible,”” McGuinness said. He tions, we would have immigration reform by now. When the also thanked the A.O.H. ““and the bulk of Irish America which door is reopened it will be because the A.O.H. paved the way.””




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SEEDS OF HOPE Concern Worldwide, the Irish relief organi-

zation, will hold its annual Seeds of Hope dinner on November 30 at 583 Park Ave. in Manhattan. This year’s honoree is Joseph P. Coppotelli, Vice Chairman of Structure Tone, one of the preeminent construction firms in the world. Mr. Coppotelli is being honored for his commitment to the arts and civic organizations including the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club, American ORT, and the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. Since its foundation in 1968, Concern Worldwide – through its work in emergencies and long-term development – has saved countless lives, relieved suffering and provided opportunities for a better standard of living for millions of people across the globe. For more information: 1-800.59.CONCERN

Ireland’s Great Hunger Lender Family Visit C

onsul General Noel Kilkenny, who recently took over from Niall Burgess, welcomed special visitors Murray and Gillie Lender to the Irish Consulate in New York for a private tour of Ireland’’s Great Hunger Exhibition on September 1. ““Having this wonderful exhibition of art works and historical materials has been a highlight of our year,”” Kilkenny told the Lenders. ““When I came here last month, I asked if these sculptures were part of the consulate and I was very disappointed to be told that they’’re only on loan from the Lender Family Collection at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut!”” The Consul General paid tribute to the Lender family’’s generosity in funding the collection and supporting Quinnipiac President, former St. Patrick’’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Dr. John Lahey, who assembled it in association with Kenny’’s Bookshop and Art Gallery of Galway. The Consul General echoed President Mary McAleese’’s thanks to the Jewish community, given at Congregation Shearith Israel in May, for their support at the time of the 1840s Famine. The Lenders, who are Jewish, were presented with a framed reproduction of the President’’s remarks. Officially opened by the President, Ireland’’s Great Hunger has attracted over 2,000 visitors in its three-month run, including members of the Irish-American community, the Jewish community, the Society of Friends, Catholic social organizations, and guests from Ireland, Boston and Washington, D.C. Curator/producer Turlough McConnell (pictured at right above with Murray and Gillie Lender and, at left, Ruth Riddick) confirmed that there are plans to send the exhibition on tour and said that details will be worked out in the coming months.

Famine Echoes: Ireland and The USA


major event on the Great Irish Famine will take place in New York on October 23 and 24. American, Irish and British scholars, journalists and writers will gather at the Seton Shrine, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, State Street, founded in 1883, to explore the impact of the catastrophe that drove millions of survivors across the Atlantic to virtually every part of the USA and Canada. Fittingly, over 100,000 newly arrived Irish girls were housed at this historic building opposite Battery Park and close to the striking Irish Famine Memorial. Organizers Owen Rodgers, Michael MacDonald and Dr. Ruan O’’Donnell launched the concept during a very successful event in Times Square during St. Patrick’’s Week and assembled an array of experts on the Famine and its legacy in the USA. Speakers include renowned historian Dr. Christine Kinealy, author and curator Sinead McCoole and leading IrishNew York authorities Terry Golway and Peter Quinn. A number of authoritative respondents will join the discussion, including Boston writer Michael MacDonald and the eminent Jim Cullen of the Brehon Law Society. An ecumenical service for the Famine Dead will be concelebrated on on Sunday, October 24. The Church of Our Lady is located at 7 State Street, New York. 212 269-6865, For more information on the Famine Echoes conference, e-mail Deanna at dwiller1@hotmail.com.

Eugene O’Neill Award Presented

Irish American Writers and Artists has chosen actor Brian Dennehy as the recipient of the 2010 Eugene O’’Neill Award. In addition to his many movie and television roles, Dennehy, interviewed in this issue on page 59, is well-known for his work on the stage –– including his acclaimed performances in many O’’Neill plays, which make him a particularly fitting recipient. The award honors his three decades of great contributions to the arts and Irish-American culture. It will be presented at a reception and ceremony on October 18th at Rosie O‘‘Grady’’s in Times Square, New York. For information, call 646-320-5595. OCTOBR / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 23



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THE FIRST FEMALE COP: An Irish Woman from Chicago


forgotten figure from history is emerging. Rick Barrett, a retired federal agent turned historical sleuth, discovered while researching Chicago’’s history of law enforcement that the first policewoman in the United States was quite likely an Irish woman named Marie Owens. According to Barrett’’s findings, Owens grew up in Ottawa, the daughter of Irish immigrants who escaped the Great Hunger. She moved to Chicago in her early twenties, but then lost her husband Thomas to typhoid fever in 1888. To support her children, she found work with Chicago’’s health department when she and four other women were appointed as health officers inspecting factories for their sanitary and working conditions. ““She wasn’’t wealthy. She was Irish. She was Catholic,”” the Irish-American Barrett told the Chicago Tribune. ““I’’m thinking, wait a minute, this woman needs some recognition. ……She knew about hardship and heartbreak. She was sympathetic to the people, because she had walked in their shoes.”” Indeed, Owens’’ firstborn son was the namesake of Irish reformer Charles Stewart Parnell, who fought for the rights of Ireland’’s poor farmers. Owens owned her own property, first a Chicago apartment and then a Lawndale two-flat, which was very unusual for a woman of Owens’’ socioeconomic status at the time. ““You start putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together, and her character and personality kind of emerge,”” said Barrett. In 1891, Owens was put in charge of examining factories suspected of breaking child labor laws. She was named detective sergeant no. 97 and given a police star as well as the power of

arrest in order to make her factory inspections more effective. She worked in the police force until her retirement in 1923, and died four years later at age 74. Dave MacFarlan, a police historian and member of the Chicago Police History Committee, claimed that if verified, Barrett’’s findings would be ““huge”” –– the Police Department had previously believed that the first policewomen began serving in 1913. Due to neglected records and incorrect identification, Owens’’ story had been forgotten until Barrett started to put the pieces together. If Barrett’’s finding proves to be correct, it will represent a groundbreaking discovery. IA -Sheila Langan & Kara Rota


The 62nd Emmy Awards, hosted by Irish American Jimmy Fallon, took place August 29, with plenty of Irish Americans honored. Glee made out well, with Neil Patrick Harris winning outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, while Jane Lynch was named outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series and Ryan Murphy was honored for outstanding directing for a comedy series for the same show. Edie Falco took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her work on Nurse Jackie.Viewer favorites Mad Men and Modern Family won for outstanding drama and comedy series, respectively, and the prolific Betty White was named outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her guest hosting of Saturday Night Live.The outstanding nonfiction special Emmy went to the HBO documentary Teddy: In His Own Words, about the late Senator Kennedy. – KR 24 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010





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THE MURPHY HOUSE’S FIRST BIRTHDAY The Murphy House, built with donations from local and national supporters, celebrated its one-year anniversary on August 19. John and Jeanette Murphy, both Irish Americans, moved into the state-of-the-art home in McDonough, Georgia last year with their eighteen adopted special-needs children and four biological. The Keenan’’s Kids Foundation, founded by Don Keenan, took out a construction loan to complete the new Murphy House in 2009. ““This family is so very special,”” Keenan says. ““We were thrilled to give them this new house in Henry County, which has plenty of room for the whole family with features to help promote the kids’’ safety and health. The celebration of their one-year anniversary is an opportunity for all our Irish supporters to come together to show their encouragement for the Murphys.”” There are a variety of upcoming fundraising events planned for the family in both the Atlanta area and beyond. Sponsorship opportunities are available at varying levels; contact Chelsie Neiman, Murphy House Project Director of Development, at 404-223-5437 or cneiman@keenanskidsfoundation.com for more information. –– KR



This summer, Coco Rocha married muralist and interior designer James Conran at the sumptuous Chateau Challain in France’s Loire Valley. Conran, who was born in England and educated in the U.S., painted Rocha’s apartment a few years ago when the two met.The ceremony was small and private, with 50 guests in attendance for a weekend of nuptial celebrations. The 21-year-old Irish-Canadian model wore a Zac Posen gown with a dramatic mermaid tail. Aside from that, only a few details were known about the wedding until Rocha posted two short films of the special day on her blog, Oh So Coco.The films are 3 minutes and 19 minutes respectively, and were made by cinematographer Gilbert Le of Americana Cinema. Of her decision to make the wedding day footage public, the bride wrote: “Once I saw these films, I realized that though personal, they were too beautiful to keep to myself.” Though envy inspiring, they are gorgeous and certainly worth watching. 26 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

The oldest living Irish-born person in the world, 108-year-old Margaret Kelly, was interviewed by Debbie McGoldrick in August for the Irish Voice newspaper on her immigration to New York in 1918 and her long life in America. Born in Scarriff, Co. Clare in 1902, Margaret McNamara was one of seven children in a farming family, most of whom left for America. ““I was glad to get out of [Ireland]!”” she remembered. ““I love New York and I love this country! You can say and do anything you want here.”” Margaret immigrated at age 16, married an Englishman named Frederick Kelly in 1925 and raised five children in Queens, one of whom died of pneumonia at age four. When Frederick died in 1960, Margaret went back to work and kept her family together. Margaret is especially close with her daughter Margie, now 76, (pictured) with whom she had lived from Frederick’’s death until she moved into the Pines Nursing Home in Glens Falls, New York about three months ago. ““We are very close. I don’’t know what I’’d do without her,”” says Margie. ““She’’s an inspiration for sure.”” Margaret, who has received a signed letter and commemorative coin from President Mary McAleese every year since her 100th birthday, is in remarkable physical health and enjoys reading and visits with her family. –– KR

TIPP TIPP HOORAY! On Sunday Sept. 5, the G.A.A AllIreland hurling final played out in Dublin’’s Croke Park before a crowd of more than 81,000. For the second year in a row, the Tipperary team faced the men from Kilkenny, who were seeking their fifth consecutive victory. From the start, it seemed that the game was going in Tipperary’’s favor: Kilkenny suffered a great upset in the beginning of the first half when star-player Henry Shefflin’’s knee buckled in the 13th minute due to a ligament injury. Tipperary quickly surged ahead, but Eoin Larkin brought Kilkenny within one point of Tipp’’s lead at the end of the first half. Though things were tense as the game resumed after the interval, Seamus Hennessy and Benny Dunne quickly brought Tipperary back into the lead, and Lar Corbett’’s third goal of the game secured the win. Tipperary triumphed over Kilkenny, 4-17 to 1-18.


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Quote Unquote A militia sniper on the Arizona border.

“If they don’t want my people out there, then there’s an easy way to send us home: secure the border. We’ll put our guns back on the shelf, and that’ll be the end of that.”

– Jason Ready, a reputed neo-Nazi who is now leading a militia in the Arizona desert. Mr. Ready, a 37-year-old former Marine, takes offense at the term “neo-Nazi,” but admits he identifies with the National Socialist Movement. Mr. Ready and his friends are outfitted with military fatigues, body armor and assault rifles. – AP report.

““I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to –– stretching the truth, I fear, on occasions past breaking point –– but I could see the whole thing collapsing because of the wording of an oath of office.”” – Tony Blair, Britain’s former prime minister, in his memoir, The Journey, released September 2, discussing the work he did during the Northern Ireland peace process. He sometime had to resort to lying in order to keep the negotiations moving forward. 28 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

“We always knew we wanted to make something good out of evil.” – Jack Lynch, the father of Michael Lynch (pictured above), a Bronx-born firefighter who died on 9/11. The family created the Michael Lynch Foundation, which has raised over $1 million in scholarship money for children of FDNY families. – The Irish Voice

““The country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown, with the right spreading fear and disinformation that is amplified by the poisonous echo chamber that is the modern media environment. ““The dispute over the Islamic center has tripped some deep national lunacy. The unbottled anger and suspicion concerning Ground Zero show that many Americans haven’’t flushed the trauma of 9/11 out of their systems –– making them easy prey for fearmongers.”” –– Maureen Dowd in The New York Times

““Immigration in general is a Social Security plus, since new arrivals tend to be young, and likely to contribute to the retirement system through payroll taxes for a long time before they start collecting. But illegal immigrants never get to collect at all. Their money only goes one way, toward benefits for the rest of us. ““Arizona retirees, tear down your wall.”” – Gail Collins writing in The New York Times

“I think Irish people are basically show-offs,” said Ms. Stronge Smith over a pint of Guinness. “We have storytelling and playacting in our blood. Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone getting a real sense of Ireland without experiencing some sense of the theater that is so much a part of who we are.”

– Patrick Healy writing in The New York Times Travel section on the theater scene in Dublin.



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{hibernia} “The border crackdown has been therapy for a nation spooked. But for solving the real problems of immigration, not so much. The terror babies are a fiction, but millions of unauthorized workers are not. At some point the economy will recover. The demand for immigrant labor will heat up, and illegal crossing will rise. Companies will go begging for legal workers. The drones and the boots and the fences will deter many new migrants, but not all. Eleven million people will still be living and working outside the law. “And the country will learn that it spent billions at the border to solve a problem a sealed border won’t fix.” –– Editorial in The New York Times, saying that studies show unauthorized immigration is sharply receding and that government should “focus on assimilating the people who are here.”

““So many Irish Americans lost their lives there, and I know the majority of their families do not want the mosque situated so close to Ground Zero. ““But that is the greatest strength of this country, disagreeing with what someone says but giving them the right to say it.”” –– Publisher Niall O’Dowd writing on the controversial proposal to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero and the “damage to America’s reputation worldwide if we don’t allow it to go ahead.”

Sister Margaret McBride.

“The talent amassed on the stage deserved nothing less [than fireworks] for the fantastic entertainment they provided the multitudes. Here’s to another 30 years of Milwaukee Irish Fest.” –– Paul Keating on the 30th anniversary of the Milwaukee Irish Fest, which drew 118,000 people August 19-22. – The Irish Voice ““The study provides the first complete genetic picture of the Irish branch of the European ancestral tree. It could provide answers as to why the Irish are more susceptible to certain diseases like cystic fibrosis.”” –– Paddy Clancy in The Irish Voice on scientists at University College Dublin who have uncovered the first Irish genetic code.

““In the case of priests who are credibly accused and known to be guilty of sexually abusing children, they are in a sense let off the hook. ““No pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught, their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever. ““Yet in this instance we have a sister who was trying to save the life of a woman, and what happens to her? The bishop swoops down [and] declares her excommunicated before he even looks at all the facts of the case.”” –– Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer comment-

ing on the excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix that allowed an abortion on a 27-year-old woman who was gravely ill. If she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was “close to 100 percent,” her doctors said. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated.

“Instead of building a mosque, build a place where the families can visit to be close to their loved one. Build a memorial that we can visit and fulfill our promise that we would never forget.”

– Janine Meehan, whose brother Damien died at the World Trade Center. – The Irish Voice


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SEAN SEXTON, THE PHOTO HISTORIAN OF IRELAND Of what use “ are lens and light

to those who lack in mind and sight?

Story by Marilyn Cole Lownes

Take an aerial view of a dreary road in Walthamstow, a soulless part of the East End of London, and you will easily spot which house Sean Sexton lives in. For there, nestled among the rows of uniform, somewhat neglected and overgrown urban back yards, you will see a garden poetically ““planted”” with artifacts and statues, paying homage to their owner’’s passion for Greek and Roman mythological and historical figures.

It is in this incongruous setting that Sean Sexton, an erudite Irish man from County Clare, immerses himself in his work as a collector and dealer of early photos and cameras of world-class distinction. The critically acclaimed Sexton collection of photos has been published in several books, including The Irish: A Photohistory with remarkable photos depicting Ireland’’s history from 1840 to 1940, and exhibited in many countries with an upcoming exhibiOCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 31



2:08 PM

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tion entitled, ““The Eye of the Collector”” at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin, October 14-21. Step inside Sean’’s office, and you will be in a room packed with chests of drawers, bookshelves and tables all stacked with books about Picasso, Max Ernst, Richard Avedon, William Klein, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. On a side table is a Kodak camera dated 1902. Opening a drawer crammed with old photos, Sean Sexton rifles through his eclectic collection, pulling photos out with interest and enthusiasm as though seeing them for the first time. ““Look at this one”” –– he points at an image of a naked man with enormous testicles. ““He’’s deformed by venereal disease. The strange thing is, there is almost an art to it. ““And look here, this is history for you,”” he continues, showing a photo of Mussolini and Chamberlain. ““That’’s when they said, ‘‘We will have peace in our time,’’”” he muses ironically. More photos emerge: a battalion of young boys in an ““anti tobacco campaign”” in 1890, alongside other photos of French fashions from 32 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

the 19th century, a slave in North Africa, and Laplanders standing outside an igloo. There is one of Anthony Eden as a young boy, along with images of an African witch doctor, a blind beggar, and mummified victims of Vesuvius from 2,000 years ago, taken in the 1880s or 90s. ““This is stuff I buy and sell to fund my Irish collection,”” explains Sean, emphasizing, ““I never have sold any of my Irish collection. I will never break it up.”” ““Sean Sexton’’s collection of Irish photos is the greatest in the world,”” declares Michael Hoppen, an expert collector and a leading gallery owner in London. ““Sean is incredibly knowledgeable and he has a great eye. He spots amazing things,”” informs Hoppen. ““I was at a Christie’’s sale in the early 90s,”” describing their first meeting. ““And I’’d seen Sean in the sales rooms before; you’’d see all these guys lurking around. Photo dealers are not ‘‘bib and tuckered.’’ You know, you’’d go to a Fine Arts or Old Masters show and people tend to look very prosperous; photo dealers are more like

ABOVE: Eviction in Derrybeg, County Donegal, in 1888. (The number of evictions during the Great Starvation of 1845-47 were not recorded but are estimated at half a million. Evictions for non-payment of rent and ““voluntary”” surrender of homes continued through the end of the century.) OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP: McGrath House, County Clare, after eviction in 1888. BOTTOM: Children in Galway, silver print, c. 1930. OPENING PAGE: Haymakers in Cork, c. 1860.



2:08 PM

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detectives, they hide in the shadows, perhaps because they have an understanding of what light can do.”” ““I found a wonderful leather binder of some incredible photographs by a man named Sir Frank Brangwyn, a Royal Academician; he was one of the painters of Rockefeller Center in New York,”” continues Hoppen. ““I spotted these pictures and they were estimated at 300 to 400 pounds. I decided no one else would have spotted them, they were ‘‘sleepers.’’ I tucked them back under the box, left my bid for 1,300 or 1,400 pounds –– triple the estimate –– and off I went to a meeting with Mark Getty because I’’d started to work with



BELOW: Open-air mass at Bunlin Bridge, County Donegal in 1867. Phographer: A. Ayton. Masses were often held in the open due to insufficient churches. Though the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 reduced some restrictions on Catholics, churches, when allowed, had to be built of wood and not stone and away from the main road.

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Getty Images. I just assumed no one would be interested in this pile of ‘‘rubbish’’ that I’’d tucked under the box. ““Anyway, Sean Sexton comes along and puts up his hand and buys them for 1,500 pounds –– four months later he drops them into a Sotheby’’s sale, properly catalogued, and makes a killing,”” Hoppen laughs, ““and they are now on offer by a dealer in America for about 375,000-400,000 dollars.”” Another time when Sexton’’s ““eye”” triumphed was when he acquired a set of 19th-century photos of vegetables by Charles Jones, reputed to be worth around 25,000 pounds. ““I go to fairs,”” recounts Sean. ““A lot of it is ‘‘undiscovered’’ 19th-century material which I get very excited about. With the Charles Jones photos I knew I’’d hit something really big. I was late for the market in Bermondsey [London]. I took one look and thought ‘‘works of art.’’ ““There was a guy there who has a gallery in New York who said ‘‘These are only of vegetables –– they couldn’’t be any good,’’ smiles Sean. ““That

guy should have known, especially being American, about modernism, because those photos were taken in 1900 when you had mainly mawkish, sentimental art, ‘‘chocolate boxy’’ art photos.”” Sean, who has been collecting since 1973, explains, ““It’’s like if Lester Piggott or Vincent O’’Brien were looking at a yearling with the view that it might win the Derby in two years’’ time –– they don’’t consult books –– they know. You either have the ‘‘eye’’ or you don’’t.”” ““Sean Sexton is a proper collector in the sense that he doesn’’t just buy from galleries,”” says Hoppen. ““He is somebody who is on the ground and really turns every stone. These are the real collectors who are prepared to dig deep.”” Asked where he thinks his aesthetic ““eye”” comes from, Sean replies,““Basically what influenced me as a child was the landscape in the west of Ireland, where I grew up on a farm in a very beautiful part of County Clare. The cliffs and water were behind me and in a distance on a clear day I could see Connemara and the mountains of Kerry.””



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LEFT: Children in County Galway. 1930. Silver print. Photographer unknown. ABOVE: An Irish laborer, c. 1855. This photograph is a rare find. Even as late as 1890, working people could not afford to have their photographs taken. BELOW: Nude by Louis Jacob, c. 1892.

One of seven boys, Sean describes his humble beginnings. ““We had no running water and my father ploughed the land with a horse and plough. We walked three and a half miles to school without shoes, but we had fifty acres of good land where all the food was grown and, more importantly, we had great parents. ““I was always an avid reader, and a big influence on me was my schoolteacher, Barney O’’Higgins. He imbued me with a sense of Irish identity, I suppose, especially Irish history. ““After national school I went to secondary school in County Mayo. We were taught by priests. The priest who influenced me most was from County Kerry, a very tall, aesthetic looking man who was supposed to teach us Latin. ““He’’d been educated in Rome. Of course, Latin is all tied up with Roman history and, given any excuse, he was showing us photos of sculptures and paintings by Michelangelo and that’’s where, I believe, my eye came from.”” ““Sean obviously has a wonderful ability to tie everything together and he understands the relationships between things,”” informs Hoppen. ““So, you are not just looking at beautiful pictures, you are looking at the shoes in this particular village hall because they are all made by the same cobbler and here is a picture of the cobbler himself and here’’s the guy who brought the leather into town. Sean can tie all this together and it makes fascinat-



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ABOVE: Sean Sexton is also an avid collector of cameras. In this photograph by John Stoddart, he is pictured with a camera by Meagher/ London, c. 1860. 36 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

ing reading,”” Hoppen continues. ““Part of what photography should do is to preserve and record history, and Sean has found a way, if you look at his Irish books and other things he has done, to preserve this material for generations to come. ““As far as the Irish collection is concerned,”” Sean says, ““you had the Irish professors who were employed at Oxford and Cambridge Universities who started ignoring and trivializing Ireland’’s history, lest perhaps they might be seen as giving credence to the republican crowd in Ireland.”” ““They were saying that during the famine,”” –– but here Sean stops to qualify. ““We, the Irish people, and the Irish historians must get the terminology right, because there wasn’’t a famine. The word ‘‘famine’’ evokes the idea that the rains failed, or that the crop failed. There was no famine, there was a great starvation. ““The coffers were full in London, they could quite easily have alleviated the starvation. They [the British administration in charge of Ireland at the time] spent nine and a half million, I think, on the ‘‘famine’’ –– they spent sixty million on the Crimean War, but because of the eruptions and the fights for independence over hundreds of years, the powers that be in Britain made excuses to themselves, saying that it was God’’s will or that the Irish deserved it.



2:08 PM

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““A lot of writers, such as Dickens and Carlisle, were not very kind either,”” argues Sean. ““It wasn’’t ignorance on their part, it was racism. ““Also, [about the hunger], having said all that, there were a lot of people in England, the upper echelons of society such as the Quakers, like Coutts Bank, who helped the Irish,”” concludes Sean. ““What Sean has done is amass this fantastic collection, and, not simply because it’’s a large one, but because it’’s one of the great, in-depth collections of a particular society,”” insists Hoppen,““ it should end up in a museum and Sean Sexton should be the person to document it and arrange it for the museum. ““Sean’’s very congenial, with a great sense of humor, he’’s very generous and he’’s maturing in a very unusual way –– he has not lost his spark and he hasn’’t lost his edge or inquisitiveness,”” Hoppen recounts. ““He’’s very particular. I invited him to lunch at the Chelsea Arts Club to have a nice bottle of red wine and a good steak-and-kidney pudding,”” says Hoppen fondly. ““Sean opted for sandwiches, which he wanted cut in squares, because he hates them cut on the diagonal. ““And, of course, they came out of the kitchen cut diagonally and Sean said, ‘‘I can’’t eat that. They are

LEFT: An Irish worker, c. 1900. BELOW: British soldiers raiding party, County Cork, 1920. OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP: Claddagh interior, Co. Calway. Worldwide Photos, c. 1930.




2:08 PM

Page 38

cut the wrong way.’’ I love that, the fact he enjoys simple things and always pays attention to detail.”” Giving some insight into the mind of the collector, Hoppen says, ““The ownership is not the fun [part] for a collector –– the hunt is much more fun than the ownership. The head of Christie’’s works the sharp end of the business, with his gavel he sells millions of pounds worth of fine art and photography, but at heart he’’s just like Sean and me –– he can’’t really sleep unless he’’s found a good picture that very day. ““With his Irish collection, Sean’’s not collecting 38 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

photographs to make money or to sell. Sean’’s puzzle is to reassemble a photographic history of Ireland and Irish life and Irish ways.”” Sean has the final word. ““A collection like this is evidence at the court of human history,”” he says. ““This is Ireland’’s history coming from the photographer’’s viewpoint. There are over 20,000 pieces of evidence observed by over 300 photographers.”” He quotes from a Latin inscription of 1589: ““Of what use are lens and light for those who lack IA in mind and sight?””

ABOVE: Photograph by John Gregory Crace, agent on the Duke of Devonshire estate, Co. Waterford, c. 1853. Particularly noticeable is the beauty of the young woman on the right.

''Titanic Belfast will be ajlagslzip destinatiou. Iconic in design a11d

home to a world-class e.rhibition O?l the site of the Belfast shipyard

where the great ocean liner was bnilt. It will inform., inspire and

entertain the thousands ofvisitor.· eve1·y yea1· who walk tlzl'ouglz

its doors."

s rece ntly as last Dec~;;mbe r,

Bel fast will attract around 400,000 visitors annu-

amid a faltering world econ-

ally, of whom between 130,000 and 165.000 will

omy, supporters of Titan ic

he from outside Notthern Ireland."

Foundation \\'onclered how the

T itanic Foundation is a company limited by

ambitious mixed-use water-

guarnntee with charitable objectives to educate

front project centered on the signature structure

people on Belfast's social, historical, indusuial and

Titanic Belbst would be completed. Many que~­

malitime heritage d1r0ugh d1e stoty of the Titanic.

rioned whether the ambitious visitor attraction

The goal is ro communicate through extensive

\vould be ready in 2012


mark the lOOth

anniversary of the sinking of RJ\ I Titanic. Plans for building Titanic Belfast. and tor redeveloping the histotic shipyards. have stayed afloat

outre-Jch programs d1at ilie innovation. engineering and craftsmanship that flourished in BelfaM one hundred years ago continues today. The Foundation plans to create a one-of-a-

thanks to the unflagging commitment or public

kind, .. must-see" visitor attracti on. jonathan

and private stakeholders. In late 2008 Tourism

llcgan, Chairman o f the Titanic Foundation,

Minister Arlene Foster announced that the 1•10

poinL'> to the scale of the project and its capacity

mil lion package needed to fund the building

for delivering an inspirational learning experi-

would he shared equally by the Government,

ence. ·'Titanic Belfast will be a flagship destina-

through the onhern Ireland Tourist Board , SCY%

tion," &1ys Hegan. "Iconic in design and home ro a

and 50010 from their partners in the private sector,

world-class exhibition on the site of the Bel fast

Titanic Quatter Ltd and Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Belfast City Council comributecl the ha l-

shipyard where d1e great ocean liner was built. It

ancing $15 million. Overall this unique funding

visitor:. evcty ye-..1r who walk through its doors.··

'"'ill info rm, inspire and emertain the thousands of

partner.:;hip has but one single objective: to complete and open the main anraaion tO visitor~ in

he aim of the Foundation i - to

time for d1e 2012 cemennial.

restore the pride associated with

Today. d1e pace of construction is brisk. AaivCover page: A mghttime rendering of the exterior of Titanic Belfast designed by the American·bom architect Enc Kuhne. left, top: Titanic Quarter, with Titanic Belfast at the center, Is the most lmpor· tant regeneration opportumty in North· ern Ireland for a generation. left, below: Shipyard workers swarm down Queen's Road in May 1911. At this period about 14,000 men were employed by Harland & Wolff at Queen's Island Photograph by Peter Lavery. Top: RMSTitanic, made In Belfast, sets sail to Southampton, England for her tragic maiden voyage. (Heritage photographs supplied by The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum PhotographiCArchive.)

the building of the Titanic. The

i ty around the site conjures the tumultuous

project will honor d1e technolog

images of 19th cenrwy Belfast, of workmen, ,·du-

ical capability that produced

des and objects mo,·ing swiftly in all direaion.'>. .1\·linister Foster recently conft.rmed that work

Titanic a century ago as an inspir,Hion for establishing Belfast and


orthern Ireland as a lead-

is advancing well. ··Good progrc~s b being

ing tourism destination, building on the glohal

made to create a world-class to urist attraction

recognition of the Titanic brand.

lo r lorthern Ireland. We have a proud industrial

Strategic Investment Board,

ord1em Ireland

and maritime heritage, and only Belfast can tell

Ltd CSIT3) is one of several groups supporting the

the complete story of the w o rld famous RMS

goab of the Foundation. Dr. Bryan Gregory.

Titanic. 'l11is project w Ul give potential tourists tl

Sl Irs Strategic Advisor and I nterim CEO of tht:

compelling reason ro visit.··

Foundation, speaks of the need to maintain

"The social and economic benefits w ill :dso

authenticity. "The overaU design of the builclin

be very signi f icant. We estimate that Titanic

has been influenced by the shipbuilding her

itage of Belbs1. The building in its lin~: and form


incorporates ek:mems of the Titanic how. th<:

point for the on ly authentic T itanic heril:lge in

White :,tar Line in:.ignia and the gantries used to

the world. ju!jt miles from when: passenger~

build th<.: Titanic.''



Be l f~1s t

will he over fi ve :,ao ri es

high," adds Hegan. '' It will house a range of

"17.tcmic Be(fast will

Chairman of Belfast Harbour. Crcating a foc;tl

today. will be a major artraction that\\ ill

enhance Be l f:tst's g rowing popu la rit y a::. a tourist destination."

themed exhibition galleri es capable of han-

Just how significant is a great building to the

d ling arnund 900.000 visiLOrs annually. Visitors

re·ival of a city? Rarely can a sing le building he

wi ll learn about the construction of R1\ l •

judged a transformational work. But one major

Titanic :111d the wide and rich story of Northern

precedent inspires all cha rged with that mi::.-

be ove1· five stm'ies

I re l a nd '~

sio n - Frank Geh1y's Guggenheim Bilbao.

high. It will house a l'ange ofthemed exhi-

of the Founda-

The latest b~ue of \lauiO•Fair report~ on a

tion i::. to educ:.1te the public about Belfast's

survey of 90 of the world 's lead ing architects.

maritime heri t::tge thro ugh the story of RM ,

teachers. and critics. who were asked to name

Titanic. This will he done mainly through

the most significant '>tructure built in recent

bition galleries capa-

industrial and m<tritime heritage."

As he sees it. ·'The


Bc lfast~1nd


outreach programs that will

memory. Th ~: m::tjority of the 52 experts who

ble ofhandling

in sp ire a new gene ration to become trul y

ultimately pa11iciparecl in the poll- including II

amund 900,000 visi-

'titanic' thinker-....

Pritzker Prize \\'innert> :md tht:: deans of eight

tors annnally. Visitors will learn about the const?'Uction of Rill'S Titauic and the

wide and rich sto,·y of

·":T01tlzem Ireland's indust'rial and mal'-

iti me heritage." jonathan Hega n Chtiii"IIWII. T1tm11C: I-<J/llldattull

"'As o ne of the cornerstones ofTit:mic Belfast and a ::.ymbol of the 1'\otthern Ireland's virality...

Guggenheim Bilbao.

says Gregory. "we plan to promote an under-

'\' hat Bilbao was in the 20th centuq for

standing, appreciatio n. and enjoyment of m:lr-

Spnin. Titanic 13elfasr plans to be in the 21st cen-

itime history and heritage and its values in this

tUJ)' for :\"onhern Irebnd. The city of Bilbao-

authentic setting.··

today one of Europe's top tourist destination~­

The Titanjc Bell~tst conc<.:pt began to emerge

\vas such a bad\\.vater in the 1990:. that. accord-

in 2005 :1:> part of a revitalization plan for the city

ing to Gehry. the 265.000-square-foot mu~eum

docklands. Angu~ \\'addinton, Project Manager

went up :1L110~t unnoticed by d1~ pret>s.

for Todd Architects. says with pride. "As soon a:-~ Titanic Belfast opens its doors it will earn it:. place


n 2005 Eric Kuhne and



known a!> Ci,·ic Arts) were appoint~d by

Northern lrebnd's centerpiece of mod-


ern architecture. We are all very proud to he

Titani c Q u arter Ltd

working to make thb happen ...

lc:1cl con<.·ept

architects and 1\ l aster Plannert> for

Howard Hastings, Chnirma n of the Nonhern

Titanic Qua rter. Civic Ans bega n creat-

Ireland Tourist Board. says: "Tir:anic Belfast was

ing the Development Framework . o riginally

identified a~ one of five , ignature Projects to

designed by Turley Associate::,. inro

showca::.e what i:-:: unique rtbout

o nhern Ire-

Plan for Titanic Quaner. The Master Pbn created


:1 ;\lat>t~r

land. This p roject ~,·ill b ring the story of RM,

a blueprim for the Tit:111ic Quarter into a $) bil-

Titanic hack home to Belt~t::.t. where she and her

Lion waterfront developmem expected to create

sister ships wen: designed and built. It wiJI al ~>o

at lt.:asl 25,000 new jobs over the n~:xt 15 years.

act as a massi,·e pull for ,·isitors to the rest of '\onhern [reland.··

Right, top: Titanic Belfast holds the record for the largest concrete pour in the hostory of modern construction on the Island of Ireland (Photograph by Chris Hill.) Right, bottom· In 1911 the twin slipways show actual side·by·side construction of White Star passenger ships, RMS Titanic and RMS Olympic.

majo r arc hitecture sc hool s - cited Geh r y's

As em·i ioned by Kuhne and hi'> associate~. Tit:1nic Belfast " ' ill he a spectacularly ,.it>ible

Nii kc Smith . CEO o f Titanic Quarter Ltd .

structu re serving as~~ scu lprural backdrop for

added: " Progres-. on the main building will

Queens Island, the Port of Bt.:lfa-.t. the Lagan

enable u:-. to de' dop related plan:-. for hotel:-..

River and the hills surrounding Belfast. Kuhne

retail units and <tdd itio nal lc isure sp:1Ce, includ-

describes the rationale for the c.le:.ign. "Other

ing the de,·elopment of Slip\Yay Park -one or

citi~::-.· waterfront~

the largest public -.pace- to be created in


in the past 50 ye:1 rs." "Belfa~t Harbor <tlready attract~ 60,000 crube

han· nowhere near the legacy

of rhi~ "ite. During tht: l:mcr stage~ of the Industrial Revolution. Belbst auractcd -.ome of the ~vorlc.l 's

best engineers. dc~igner-. and ani ...anl>.

passengers and crew every year and over 1.2

The city was the centl..'r of innO\ ati ve naval

million ferry pa~senger~ ... ->ays Len O 'Hagan.

architecLUre and single-handedly im·enrecl lux-

"Br·inging Titanic Belfast to life isn't jnst about b1·icks and mortar," says Chai?·man Regan. "It's cLboutfostering a sense of comrnunUy and en,sw~ing that existing communities can benefit from and be pwrt of the The Foundation's ·integmted


appr·oach 'recognizes the impor-tance ofthe econorn·ic, social and regional aspects of regeneration. Our key 1·esponsi bility is

ury ocean travel. We have already seen the success of the Northern lreland Science Park at the docklands in attracting major investors like Microsoft and Citigroup. That is only d1e stalt of the growth d1at will be achieved here." Historic precedents have d riven the design process. The fina l form of Titanic Belfast will reflect the industrial legacy of Harland & Wolff and the impact of shipbuilding and the sea on Belfast's development. The prow of the builcling·s glass-walled atrium plots a cou rse clown me centre of d1e Listed Titanic and Olympic slip~vays rowarcls the lapping waters of the River Lag~n. The project"s close proximity ro the sire where these rvvo ships were forged lends exceptional authenticity and immediacy. TI1e building's fom1 evokes a host of maritime metaphors; its four projecting segments suggest ships' prow:> ploughing through the Norrh Atlantic swell. Almost the entire fa<;ade will be dad in facetecl three-dimensional zinc plates in a pattern resembling the construction of the great ocean liners. The reflection pools d1at spread out from its base multiply the nocturnal illuminations. The lower portions of the four wedges tell the evolution of shipbuilding technology wid1 a sedes of materials, including lapped timber planking. riveted iron, 'velclecl steeL and finally, alwninum.

to the community.''

l~ft, top: Far left, Wallace Lawson, Interim COO of Titanic Foundation. (At ~ar) Noel Molloy, Project Director, Har· court Construction. Far right, Dr. Bryan G~gory, Interim CEO of Titanic Foun· dation with workmen Wllllam Bennett, Aiden McGarry and John Duffin. Left, bottom: The oldest section of the former Harland & Wolff headquarters, located next to Titanic Belfast, will be refurbished. This includes the Draw· lng Offices where construction plans for Trtanic were made. (Photograph by Petfr Lavery, courtesy of Titanic Quarter Ltd)

ithin, the project provides ove r 12,000 sqm of space on 5 floors whose combined height is equivalent tO mat of a 10-storey builcUng. Every e lement of the construction and design has been executed with close attention to detail. The generous ceiling heights a llow for large-scale exhibits. while the lower levels are controlled environmems suit· able for installations evocative of heavy industry or t11e depths of a ship's hulL Directly under the sweeping roof will lie a banquet hall ro seat 750, the largest in Belfast. Panoramic views can be had from various entertaining areas. Strips of under-lit glass will radiate from a compass rose laid into the atrium floor to c reate a dram<ltic '·carpet.. of lig ht across the square. Like d1e lines ofanrique nautical c harrs, these Jines a ll ow pedestrians to navigate to od1er local landmarks through connections between the exhibition's displays and the topography of the site.


century ago Belfast was a hub

of t.h e Industrial Revolution, thriving on heavy engineering and shipbuilding, and the Pan of Belfast was one of the world's greatest clocklancls. When work began on the RMS Titanic in1909, Belfast was at its peak, but by 2000 shipbuilding was clown to <1 trickle and the Belfast docks lay almost idle. Now, after more than a decade of peace :mel in response to the demise of the great shipbuiJding days of yore, a new vision is raking hold on t ile docklancls within wa lking distance of Belfast's city center. Titanic Quarter is one of Europe's largest u rban waterfront developments- more than rwice d1e s ize of Lonclon·s Canary \'(fharf. ''This will become a major symbol of the economic regeneration of Belfast and Northern Ireland," says Hegan. ·' Bringing Titanic Belfast to life isn't just about bricks and mortar," he explains. "It's about fos tering a sense of commun ity and ensuring that existing communities can benefit from and be pan of the structure. The Foundation's integrated approach recognizes the importance of the economic, social and regional aspects of regeneration ... Hegan continues, "Our key responsibility is to the community." Although Titanic Quarter is creating a new urban centre in the heart of Belfast. it is also establishing a community that will he part of day-to-clay life in the city. ··we are committed to engaging with tbe people of Belfast, particularly those from socially disadvantaged communities, and encouraging them to avail of opportunities in Titanic Quarter.·· says Hegan. "To this end. we work with the public, private, and community sector o rganizations. We are working closely with relevant organizations throughout Belfast, especial ly d1ose in neighboring Easr Belfast." As Belfast's Lord Mayor Pat Convery sees it, ·"fimnic Quaner, with the exhibition structure at d1.e center, will bring new life to a prut of d1e city that is rich in bod1 histo•y and potential. It will become a major social and business meeting place with ga ll eries, theatres. pa1·k lands and water sports a ll easil y connected ro Belfast's du·iving city centre." "In the lives of cities, boldness and vision rarely follow catastrophe,'' wrote architectural

Top: Titanic Belfast, at the center of Titanic Quarter, will be home to a world-class exhibition designed by renowned creative company Event Communications. Middle: The new headquarters of the Public Records of Northern Ireland, recently completed by Todd Architects. Bottom: Rendering of Belfast Metropolitan College, one of the largest Further & Higher Education Colleges in the UK or Ireland The new campus will have direct links with businesses located throughout Titamc Quarter.

critic Paul Goldberger. The city of Belfast may be the exception that proves the rule. Innovation is surging. Titanic Belfast rises as one of Europe's largest \vaterfront developments. Architecture can play a major civic role in creating symbols of local, regional or national pride. BL1ildings have regenerated and energized cities worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of ArL, which was expanded in

1967 by the

architect Kevin Roche. Other examples include architectjorn Utzon's Sydney Opera House in Australia and LM. Pei's remarkable project at the Louvre in Paris. jacques Herzog and Pierre de ~leuron redesigned the Tate 1\lodern in the

Bankside Power Station on the Thames River. The original Tate ~lodem "¡as designed for 1.8 million vi:.itors a year. Ten years later, -6 million han: \'isited the galleries, more than twice the number predicted. Iconic structures do connect \'isirors with the culture and the history of cities worldwide. Titanic Foundation holds as its central mission to develop educational programs that will help inspire the next generation of leadership and innovation. \Xfith the best visionary leaders, urban planners, architects, builders, creative designers, educators and community activists at the helm of Titanic Foundation and Titanic Belfast,


Ireland is poised to show how the ardlitecture of hope and the architecn.re of history are bound together as never before.

TITANIC FOUNDATION We' ll be ready for you in 2012 We'd love to be part of your next vacation For further information visit www.titanic-foundation.org www.gotobelfast.com www.discovernorthemireland.com



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The McNulty Family’s

Irish Show Boat SAILS AGAIN The McNultys performing with their top hats and high jumps at Otejen’s, an upscale restaurant in Brooklyn in the 1940s

One of the most popular entertainment groups from the 1920s to the 1960s, Annie ‘Ma’ McNulty and her children Eileen and Peter have largely been forgotten, but that may change soon. Story by Sheila Langan. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 47



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nown as ““The Royal Family of Irish Entertainment,”” the McNultys were the leading IrishAmerican music act from the 1930s through the early 1950s. They had a hit radio show; they made hundreds of recordings and sold many thousands; they performed everywhere from New York to Newfoundland in theaters and bars so packed they frequently had to turn people away. Their reign was long and their decline in popularity was gradual, with some members of the family still doing occasional shows as late as the 1980s. Today, however, few of their songs are in circulation, none of their sheet music is available, and a Google search yields only a few relevant links and scant details. But all that may soon change. Though contemporary culture may have forgotten about the McNulty family, there are those who certainly haven’’t. Patricia Grogan, Eileen McNulty’’s daughter, has been working with Brendan Dolan, Project Archivist for the Archives of Irish America at New York University’’s Tamiment Library, to establish the McNulty Family Collection. The collection holds a wealth of information and resources, most of which was amassed by the McNultys themselves. I recently spoke with Pat and Brendan about the formation of the archive and the history it contains.

her last in Ireland: Annie immigrated to America in 1910 and settled in Massachusetts. There, she met and married John McNulty from Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim. Their two children, Eileen and Peter, were born in 1915 and 1917, and a few years later Annie began training them for the stage. ““She had them performing in

“The McNultys Were a Hit”


Eileen, “Ma,” and

s I talk with her grand- Peter McNulty in amateur shows as soon as they daughter, it becomes clear a publicity shot could walk, really,”” Pat laughs, that Annie McNulty knew from the ’30s. telling me about the early days two things all along: that her famiof her ““Naneen’’s”” career. ““And ly was destined for show business greatthen in 1927 she wrote their famous numness and that they would build a legacy ber ‘‘Danny Boy the Greenhorn’’ and they worth remembering. ““She just loved perstarted performing as a family.”” forming,”” Pat explains. ““And she was a Performing would become not only a dynamo, an absolute force of nature.”” desire, but a necessity. John McNulty Born in Kilteevan, Co. Roscommon in passed away in 1928 and, as Pat recounts, 1887, Annie Burke was the youngest of ““Naneen was widowed and her children nine sisters. At a very young age she were young. Immediately she began to began performing locally as a singer and work as the supervisor of the building they an accordion player, and gave her first were living in and the three of them startconcert in 1907. That concert would be ed performing for money.”” Fortunately for 48 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Annie, the McNultys were a hit. ““By 1930 they were on radio, and they had their ‘‘Irish Show Boat Revue.’’”” The family moved to New York and were in shows all over the city several nights a week, appearing everywhere from the Leitrim Houses, to bars in Rockaway, to the opera house at the Brooklyn Academy of Music –– where they would perform their famous ““Irish Show Boat Revue”” an astounding 55 times. They were guests on the highest-rated radio and television programs of the 30s –– The Rudy Vallee Show and Texaco Star Theater with Milton Berle –– singing their crowd-pleasing songs ““Mother Malone,”” ““Likeable Loveable Leitrim Lad,”” ““Far Away in Australia,”” and ““At the Close of an Irish Day,”” to name a few. They recorded with Decca, one of the biggest record labels, and collaborated with other Irish and Irish-American performers, but they also created a style and a sound that was very much their own. In Pat’’s words, ““they did a lot of vaudeville and a lot of traditional stuff –– but always with a kick.”” Tours took them to Boston, Chicago, and Newfoundland, where they had a lasting influence on local musical traditions. Much of their music even traveled back to Ireland: many of their songs were commercially released and Annie became a local hero in Kilteevan. Pete wrote a weekly column for The Irish Advocate, the most prominent Irish American newspaper at the time, and he and Annie penned the lyrics to some of their biggest numbers. The McNulty Family was, as Brendan Dolan aptly puts it, ““It.”” Pat adds, ““there wasn’’t anyone like them. When they performed, people would get up and dance. They were absolutely electric.””

“The Irish Show Boat Kept Chugging Along”


ar broke out and Pete went into the army in 1942. Though times were certainly difficult, Pete’’s absence did not mean the end for the McNulty family. ““While he was away, the ‘‘Irish Show Boat’’ kept



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chugging along,”” Pat says, with help from friends like Donnie ““The Swank”” McDonnell, who stepped in to perform with Annie and Eileen. Annie even took over Pete’’s column in The Advocate. Pat also talks with pride about how Pete served and entertained the troops. ““He wrote skits and performed for them in foxholes and bombed-out buildings. He was in the Battle of the Bulge and was a second lieutenant by the time the war ended.”” Sadly, though, after the war Pete’’s health was broken indefinitely and things slowed a bit for the McNulty Family, for a variety of reasons. ““It was the 1950s. Tastes were changing, the old neighborhoods were breaking up. But,”” Pat adds, ““they did keep going.”” They performed their last show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1951 and recorded some more in 1950 and 1953. Their last performance as a family took place in Philadelphia in 1959. Then, in 1960, Pete died at the young age of 43, bringing the original McNulty act to a sad conclusion. Pat’’s brother, Jim, did perform with his mother and grandmother a few times, but shows were never as frequent. ““What a great run they had,”” Pat is quick to remind. ““From the ’’20s to the ’’60s. It’’s amazing. A great legacy.”” Listening to their music, it’’s easy to see why the McNulty Family appealed to such a wide audience. Their songs are rousing and catchy. They tell stories of courtship, of patriotism, of day-to-day life, and –– most of all –– of a deep nostalgia for Ireland. They extend a hand to listeners, inviting them to come aboard the little ““Irish Show Boat”” and ““cross the briny seas”” to an island three thousand miles away: to do in song what a large portion of the immigrant community couldn’’t do in reality. Annie never returned to Ireland and Pete never got the chance to visit. Trips were planned on two occasions, in 1939 and 1959, but were disrupted both times: first due to the war and then due to Pete’’s failing health. Eileen, however, did get to go. Following her husband's death in 1968 and Annie’’s passing in 1970, Eileen took Pat and Jim to Ireland, where she earned her TCRG in Irish step dancing. After returning to America she taught for the rest of her life and, Pat recalls, still performed on rare occasions until she passed away in 1989.

RIGHT: A hand-colored photo from one of Ma’s many scrapbooks. Young Eileen and Peter dressed in their costumes for “Danny Boy the Greenhorn.” BELOW: Pat and Jim with their “Naneen” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Irish Show Boat Revue, c. 1949.

“Ma” the Archivist


hroughout the years, Annie McNulty had also been busy accumulating all the pieces that would eventually come together to form the McNulty Family Collection. In one of her weekly Advocate columns, Annie wrote, ““……being of a sentimental nature, I have saved every scrap that has to do with the McNulty Family entertainers.”” ““And that,”” Pat confirms, ““is true.”” In a sense, the current collection really began with Annie’’s careful attention to all the objects, photographs, and pieces of paper that would form a record of her family’’s career. No bit of information was too small, explains Brendan. ““Pat’’s grandmother kept everything. Every mention of the McNulty Family, even down to two lines, was saved.”” When I ask where everything was kept, Pat smiles and says, ““her apartment. She lived in the Hotel Wilson at Columbus Circle……That apartment was so stuffed with things, the closets were bursting with costumes, she had sheet music; scrapbooks; clippings; record players; a baby grand piano; the accordions; her tap shoes [were] on top of the sewing machine that she used to make all their costumes. Somehow she kept it all.”” A brief tour of the collection confirms

that Annie did, in fact, save everything. There’’s a program and a ticket from her 1907 concert in Kilteevan. There are annotated scrapbooks, compiled by Annie herself and complete with photographs colored in by hand. In addition to the hundreds of photographs and clippings, three accordions, two top hats, 155 recordings, 40 posters, and more than 25 programs, there are also unpublished lyric books, contracts, copies of all the Irish Advocate columns, songs that were never commercially released, rare bits of video footage, and detailed scripts and musician’’s directions for some of their numbers. The collection is massive. After Annie’’s death, Eileen stored all the items in her house. Then, when Eileen passed away, care of the collection fell to Jim and Pat. ““My brother and I always knew that these things were important,”” says Pat. ““We safeguarded them. Jim saved them from floods; I saved some of the stuff from a California wildfire. And then eventually we agreed that we had to get these preserved because they’’re so important to Irish America and to Ireland.”” The question was, how? In 2007, after a trip to New York, Pat picked up a book published by The Archives of Irish America, Making the Irish American. ““I read an article by Mick Moloney and saw a poster of my family……Then I looked at my husband and said ‘‘That’’s it! Mick Moloney and the Archives of Irish America. What could be more perfect?’’”” Pat got in touch with Dr. Moloney, who flew to California a week later, and the collaboration began. ““Everything OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 49



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just seemed to come together.”” the history and impact of the family is in That same year was the hundredth the works. On March 11th, there will be anniversary of Annie’’s 1907 concert so a concert featuring the McNultys’’ most Pat and her niece Courtney traveled to popular numbers at New York City’’s Kilteevan for the celebration, which was Symphony Space. The concert, a collabpart of the South Roscommon Singers oration between the Archives of Irish Festival. At that festival, Moloney was America and the Irish Arts Center, will honored with the annual Annie McNulty feature a large cast of singers and perAward, which recognizes important conformers. Of particular note, Moloney tributions to traditional Irish music at mentioned possible performances by home and abroad. ““It couldn’’t have been Malachy McCourt, Vince Giordano, and more perfect,”” Pat remarks. Annie's great-granddaughter, Courtney. As he shared in a recent phone conversation, Mick Moloney agrees. ““I’’ve been a great admirer of the McNulty Family since 1973,”” he begins. ““Their music has such an exuberant, unique sound. The first time I heard them I knew right away that they were different from any other musicians because of the combination of traditional music and vaudeville……of tap and step dancing.”” He contacted Eileen in 1977 and went to Hoboken to meet and interview her. There, he caught his first glimpse of what would become The McNulty Family Collection. All of the things Annie McNulty had saved were stored in Eileen’’s house at that time, and Dr. Moloney remembers being amazed by what he saw. After Eileen’’s death, he wondered what had happened to all the recordings, photos, and memorabilia. He wanted to contact Pat but wasn’’t sure where to look: she had moved since his last conversation with Eileen and, because her married name is Smith, the odds of A publicity photo picking the right one in the phone from the ’50s. ““We’’re celebrating 40 years book were slim to say the least. He ABOVE RIGHT: A of Irish music in New York,”” feared that ““the collection would poster for their he said. 1935 Irish Show be gone, lost.”” The contents of the collecBoat Revue at the But with a few serendipitous Brooklyn Academy tion are also being copied moments, things have clearly of Music. and organized into as worked themselves out. As Dr. chronological an order as Moloney puts it, ““I think Annie McNulty possible. To accomplish this task, Pat would be smiling.”” flew to New York from California in With the continued support of Dr. August and spent two weeks working Moloney and Michael Stoller, the with Brendan Dolan. From an archivist’’s Director of Collections and Research perspective, this has been a rare and Services at NYU’’s Bobst Library, the valuable opportunity. As Brendan elaboMcNulty Family Collection has made rates, ““The ideal thing about having Pat wonderful progress. Moloney and Harry here is that, if I was left to myself I’’d be Bradshaw are compiling a double CD of in a real bind because I know the McNulty songs, and a book chronicling McNultys, but I don’’t know who this or 50 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

that other guy is. But Pat just looks at them and says ‘‘Oh! that’’s ––.’’Archivists don’’t normally have that kind of luxury. Usually they get a collection after the family is deceased and the information is lost and the researcher has to reconstruct it. The value of having Pat here is that she can give so much information right now. ““And not just Pat,”” he adds. They were also joined by Donnie McDonnell, who sang and danced with the McNultys, and was able to identify not only people in the pictures, but even some of the numbers they were performing. ““He is literally the last surviving member of their performing show. He’’s the last link. And he just looked at the cast photographs and went down the line, and now we know who everyone is.”” All of this seems to prove that Pat is right –– everything is coming together, and at the perfect moment. The collection is taking shape while those who remember the McNulty Family can still contribute to its accuracy and have the chance to travel back, via the archive's recordings, to the performances they attended. But it’’s also here just in time to make sure that the McNulty Family’’s legacy is remembered and understood by younger generations, that all the things Annie McNulty kept with such foresight remain intact, in order and accessible to all. IA

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of The South

A CELEBRATION OF THE IRISH IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES The honorees profiled in this special feature will be feted at our fifth annual Stars of the South dinner in Atlanta on October 16th.

Patrick Berrigan

When he isn’’t involved in community work, Patrick Berrigan enjoys the outdoors. He also counts traveling to Ireland as one of his favorite pastimes. Patrick is the city prosecutor of Slidell, Louisiana and is assistant district attorney assigned to Slidell City Court. After graduating in the top ten percent of his class from Loyola University Law School and passing the bar, Patrick began practicing in Slidell in 1969. In 1971 he opened up his own practice to great success, and became the city attorney a year later. As the city grew, so did Patrick’’s practice. He was on the defense team in the Pan Am crash suit representing Pan Am and its insurers. He has been a prosecutor since 1970 and has served as a Special Prosecutor for the District Attorney of the 22nd Judicial District. Currently, Patrick lectures on various topics to the Slidell, Mandeville and Covington police departments. He serves on Slidell’’s Chamber of Commerce and is mayor of its Economic Development Committee. He was also a board member of Florida Parishes Human Services Authority from 2000 to 2007. A practicing Roman Catholic, Patrick has been active in the Church community for forty years. He became a CCD Lay Teacher in 1970 and was the president of the board of directors at Slidell’’s Pope John Paul II High School in 1989. He has also been an extraordinary lay minister for the Archdiocese of New Orleans since 1985. In 1996 he received the Order of St. Louis award, given to laypersons that have devoted their time to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Patrick and his wife Barbara Ann Sedlacek, whom he met in law school, live in Slidell with their five children, Jenifer, Patrick Jr., Mary Elizabeth, Erin and Kim Theresa. Patrick’’s great-great-great-grandfather Jerimiah Berrigan left Liverpool on a ship bound for New Orleans in 1859. Like many Irish immigrants, he settled in an Irish enclave in what is now uptown New Orleans and became a tradesman. The Berrigans are from Counties Offaly and Tipperary.

Steve Cahillane

Steve Cahillane has spent his entire career in the beverage industry and has more than 20 years of diverse experience. Today he is president of the North American Group for CocaCola Enterprises (CCE). One of four children born to a New York firefighter with roots in County Kerry and a mother who was born and raised in Donegal and immigrated to New York City at the age of 18, Steve holds a BA degree in political science from Northwestern University and an MBA from Harvard University. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Steve, who began his career as a sales representative for E&J Gallo Winery, held senior management positions with Coors Distribution Company, InBev, and Labatt USA. He entered the European beverage industry in 2003, working for two years as chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland. Following that, he moved to Brussels and served as chief commercial officer for InBev. In 2007, Steve was appointed president of the Europe Group for CCE, and in 2008, he was named president of CCE’’s North American Group. An avid runner, Steve has completed nine marathons as well as multiple half marathons and triathlons. He and his wife Tracy reside in Atlanta with their four children.




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Stephen Cross Dr. Stephen E. Cross is the executive vice president for research of the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of America’’s top research universities, which occupies 400 acres in the heart of the city of Atlanta and also has a base in Ireland. Georgia Tech Ireland was officially opened in 2006 at the IDA Business and Technology Park, Athlone. Established by Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the applied research and real-world problem-solving arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology, it was GTRI’’s first applied research facility outside the U.S. Stephen, who holds faculty appointments as a professor in industrial and systems engineering and as an adjunct professor in the College of Computing and the College of Management, is one of the founders of Georgia Tech Ireland and has spent considerable time there. He served on the advisory board at Queen’’s University Belfast, as a consultant to Science Foundation Ireland, and has worked closely with IDA Ireland. He was recently asked to be a member of the advisory board of the Atlantic Corridor in Tullamore, County Offaly. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he was named a distinguished alumnus in 2002, Stephen received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served as director and CEO of the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute in Pittsburgh, PA, prior to joining Georgia Tech, and has published extensively on artificial intelligence and technology transition. In addition, he has led studies and organized workshops for senior industry and government leaders on topics spanning innovation, adaptable organizations, and systems engineering. Stephen and his wife Sue have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Archbishop John F. Donoghue John Francis Donoghue, who retired as Archbishop of Atlanta in 2004, was born in Washington, D.C. on August 9, 1928, the son of Daniel and Rose Ryan Donoghue. Both of his parents were Irish immigrants. His father was a government worker and his mother a domestic. He has three brothers, all of them in the Washington, D.C. area. During his 11 years as Archbishop, Donoghue realized his dream of bringing Catholic education to more children in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He kicked off a fundraising campaign in 1997 entitled ““Building the Church of Tomorrow,”” and raised millions in funds, which he directed to new schools. It was an ambitious plan, especially given that throughout the U.S. Catholic schools were closing at an alarming rate at that time. Ultimately, Archbishop Donoghue helped raise $70 million and opened five new state-of-the-art schools: three elementary schools and two high schools. Frank Moore, founding principal of Blessed Trinity, told a writer for the Georgia Bulletin, ““Those of us who work in Catholic education and all the parents involved in Catholic schools know that the gift he gave us is so extraordinary and his ongoing support is so wonderful. I’’m not sure anyone else in the whole country can say as much about their bishop.”” In the same article, the Archbishop commented, ““Whatever success there’’s been, it is really because of our good Catholic people and good priests and good religious. Without them and their generosity in offering their lives to the church we wouldn’’t have anything.”” Archbishop Donoghue was ordained to the priesthood in St. Matthew Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on June 4, 1955. He served as assistant pastor of St. Bernard’’s Church, Riverdale from 1955-1961, and then as assistant pastor of the Holy Face parish, Great Mills, Maryland until 1964. He was then asked to join the staff of the Archdiocesan Chancery as Chancellor/Vicar-General and served there until his appointment as Bishop. In 1970, he was given the papal rank of Chaplain to His Holiness with the title ““Monsignor.”” A year later he was named a Prelate of Honor. He was ordained bishop in 1984, becoming the second bishop of Charlotte. After nine years in Charlotte, he was named by Pope John Paul II to head the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and was installed as Archbishop on August 19, 1993. Profiles compiled and edited by Sheila Langan, Aliah O’’Neill, and Kara Rota

John Maschinot John Maschinot, a master musician who has been playing the uilleann pipes, Irish wooden flute and tin whistle for a quarter of a century, grew up in a small Kentucky town on the Ohio River with a musical father and an artistic mother whose ancestors came from Galway. As a young man he traveled to the highlands of North Georgia where he was influenced by mountain music. Later, he encountered the great Irish uilleann piper Joe Shannon and became smitten with Irish music. He saw the kinship between Appalachian and Irish music and, over time, developed a unique style and repertoire that reflects this relationship. John formed the ““Buddy O’’Reilly Band,”” a seminal ensemble featuring some of the finest traditional musicians in the Southeast. The ““Buddies”” produced three albums. He is currently involved with a group called A Do, a classic Irish piping and fiddling duo. In addition, to playing music, John hosted and produced the critically acclaimed ““Up in the Air”” world music program on WRFG FM Atlanta. A second program, ““The Celtic Show,”” which he began in 1985, is still in production. With the assistance of Dr. James Flannery of Emory University, and the W.B. Yeats Foundation, John created and produced the first Atlanta Celtic Christmas show in 1992 and serves as the musical director and creative consultant of the show, which is now in its 18th year of production. A new world music radio program is also in the works. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 53



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of The South

Joseph M. Hassett Joseph Hassett balances his achievements in law with a passion for Irish culture and academia. He is both an accomplished lawyer and Yeats scholar. His new book, W.B. Yeats and the Muses, published by Oxford University Press, will be reviewed in our next issue. A graduate of Canisius College, Harvard University and University College, Dublin, where he earned his MA and PhD, Joe is a member of the bar in Washington, D.C. and New York and has argued in appellate courts all over the country and in the United States Supreme Court. He is currently with Hogan Lovells, a firm based in D.C., with offices worldwide and a long history of being committed to recruiting, retaining, and promoting lawyers and others with diverse backgrounds and experiences. A proud Irish American whose great-grandparents emigrated from counties Clare and Cork, Joe lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Carol Melton (the couple has two children) and serves as counsel to the Embassy of Ireland. His interest in W.B. Yeats stems from the generosity of Irish Americans in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, who funded a scholarship that took him to the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo following his junior year in college in 1963. Joe has lectured on Yeats and other Irish writers at such venues as the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, the James Joyce Summer School in Dublin, the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco, and Oxford University. 54 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Patrick J. McGahan A U.S. Navy man with a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from Indiana University, Patrick J. McGahan enjoyed a long and successful career with Cummins Engine Company, which he joined in 1958. Patrick held various marketing positions for Cummins, including VP & General Manager, until 1975 when he purchased the Cummins distributorship based in Atlanta. He expanded operations into Chattanooga, Tennessee and throughout Georgia and served many years as chairman before his retirement in 2005. But retirement is hardly a word that describes Patrick, who is still committed to community and business. Today, he is the chairman of PJM Investments, an investment and real estate company. He is also a member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Care Foundation Board, a founding trustee of Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia, and a long-time member of the board of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Atlanta St. Patrick’’s Day Foundation and Shamrock Society. Patrick is a proud Irish American whose ancestors on his father’’s side emigrated in the early 1800s, while his great-grandmother on his mother’’s side came over in the mid 1800s. He and his wife Barbara have four children and 13 grandchildren.

Betty Scott Noble & Susan Dougherty Betty Scott Noble and Susan Dougherty are being honored jointly for their work on behalf of Agnes Scott College. Founded in 1889, Agnes Scott College educates women ““to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.”” Betty is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Agnes Irvine Scott, an Irish immigrant from Northern Ireland, for whom Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia is named. George Washington Scott, Betty’’s great-great-grandfather, helped to found the school for women in 1898 and named it in honor of his mother. Betty Scott Noble grew up in South Carolina and Alabama and was educated at Agnes Scott College, where she is now an adjunct professor. She taught elementary school for five years during the early days of integration in Alabama, which sparked interests in school, family and community. She received a PhD in counseling and school psychology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In 1999, Betty’’s mother, Betty Pope Scott Noble, authored a family memoir, The Story of Agnes Irvine Scott, in honor of Agnes Betty Scott Noble (left) Scott’’s 200th birthday. and Susan Dougherty. Taking on her mother’’s passion to tell the family story, Betty visited Ireland and Pennsylvania, the places Agnes lived, to gather information from distant relatives. Susan Dougherty, a graduate of Agnes Scott and an employee of the college, began assisting Betty in 2006 and a joint endeavor emerged. A native of Atlanta, Susan Dougherty began working at Agnes Scott College in 1998. She decided to complete her undergraduate degree in women’’s studies at the college and graduated summa cum laude in 2006. Using family photographs, letters, and archival sources, Susan has presented the story of Agnes and her son George to various audiences. As manager of faculty services, Susan is very involved in academic life at Agnes Scott and believes that no student should graduate without knowing the story of the woman behind the name! Now, thanks to the generosity of Betty’’s father, Dr. J. Phillips Noble, who helped establish the Betty Pope Scott Noble College Heritage Project in honor of his wife, students and visitors wishing to research the history of the college and the Scott family will be able to do so. In June 2008, Betty and Susan collaborated on a presentation about the project at the Ulster American Heritage Symposium in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

6 Ways to Experience Northern Ireland elcome to Nonhern Ireland. Once you·,·e \"isited, you"ll want to return again and again. Come visit a region whost: natural bt:au ty and proud traditions beckon the traveler. Even the hip Lonely Planer Bluelist proclaims :\orthern Ireland a:. tht: hot ne" destination, and cites Belfa:,t as one of the top cities on the rise. This sudden popularity comes as no surprise to regulars who have long known the area as one of the most beautiful and intere-.ting in Europe. lr"s a land of immen::.e variety, with wave-Mvept coasta l drives. hazy mountains, vast open mcx>rlands and glassy lakes. Oi:,cover rhe sights and sounds of the region. "hich includes famous ancient castles and batllement:, as well as lesser-known farms that were ancestral homesteads 10 15 Presidents of the United States. \Xfho knows ''here the adventure will take you?


1. CELEBRATE The Medieval Walled City of Deny/Londonderry. Deny/ Londonderry has made history after winning its bid to he the first t:\·t:r UK City of Culture in 2013. The momentous win mc:-1n-. d1ar in 2013 the city will play host to a year-long celebration of culture in the city, opening its doors to visitors from across the world. Few places can boast a greater sweep of history and culture than Londonderry. one of d1e few completely walk<.! cities still standing in Europe and daring from 1618. Attht: h~ut of the city is lx.>autiful Guildh<tll, a popular venue tor c:onccrts, plays and exhibitions. A visit to the Craft Village "·ill rake you back to the sixteenth centuq. '\ature lovers" ill enjoy the parks around Londonderry; At ~ess Park visit Brackfield Bawn and Ballykelly Bawn. Bc:-tchgoers will seek out Benone Strand and ~lagilligan trand. two of Europe's tlne-.r.

2. DISCOVER The Giant's Causeway (Northeast: County Antrim). Leave Derry/Londonderry ,·ia the Causeway Coastal Route, rawd as one of the "·orld'::. Top Five Road Trip-.. ·n1e Giant's Causeway i'> a \X'orld Heritage Site and draws as many as 600.000 visitors each Prev1ous page: Gianrs Causeway County Antrim 1 The Gu1 dhall Londonderry 2 Portstewart Golf Course County Derry 3 Belfast Food Market 4. Carnck-a·Rede Rope Bndge County Antnm. 5. Mount Stewart House & Gardens, County Down Cover photograph G1ants Causeway by Chris Hill All other photographs courtesy of Tourism Ireland

year. The Causeway's hexagonal columns were formed by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. Continue to Belfast through the 'Iine Glens of Antrim. Enjoy aftt:rnoon tea at l8tJ1 cenntl) Glenarn1 C-c.de and learn about the .\lcDonnells and d1e migration of earlier Scots into t11e glens. Ballygally Castl e was built by Shaw of Greenock in the Scottish Baronial style. Admire snmning views acro.,s to Scotland and learn about the hislOI)' of the area from the time of the Plantation of Ulster. Just· down the coas t is the Londonderry Arms, once owned by Sir Winston Churchill and no"· a popular -.eafood re-.taurant. Continue the drive to Andre"·

.Jackson Centre :md C:mickfergui> Cast!<: on your way into Belfast. Tl)' to scheduk: a halfday trip to RathJin. home of the spider story of Roben t11e Bruce. On the Bush mill'> Distillery tour learn ho\\ whiske~ ''-'a!> made hundreds of years ago (and today). \'<'alk do\\'n 10 Dunse\'erick before relllrning to Belfast or heading to the airport for your journey home.

3. EXPLORE Belfast & Titanic (Belfast, County Antrim). Belfast is a city reborn, where old merges with new, a booming retail center with a rich and historic Victorian Mn:etscape. Saint .\nne\ Cathedral is the

4. WANDER The Mournes and the Sperrins (Southeast and Northwest). The prominent moumain range connecting Counties Armagh and Down are The Mournes, the inspiration for C.. Lewis' Kingdom ofJ\'arnia. They stand proudly with striking rugged peaks. Be sure to follow the Mourne Wall, 22 miles long, that runs l ike a roller coaster from peak to peak. For another glorious mountain range visit the Sperrin Mountain!> in the Norrhwest, spanning Counties Tyrone and Londonderry. Learn how the Scottish senl ers of the region became engaged in the production of linen. Enjoy shopp ing at .Moygashel. Drive through T yrone to Cookswwn and the Well brook Beetling .Mill. Visit me Springhill Costume:: Collection. Stop in Dungannon, with its exquisite Tyrone Crystal; here me art of oystal making has been going strong since the 18th cenrury.Just outside Omagh is the Ubter-American Folk Park. Give yourself a few hours to appreciate a living-histOry experience; the installations and reenactments tell of the formidable contribution d1at generations of Scots-Irish made to American frontier history.

5. VISIT St. Patrick's Centre (Southeast: Counties Down and Armagh). South of BelfaSt, me scenic Ards Peninsula offers tran-


center of the oldest quarter, an area packed with cobbled street~. historic pubs and uperb restaurant!>. Enjoy street theater at Custom House Square. or chat with locals at Kell}''s Cellars, one of Belfast's most ancient pubs. See other historic locations such as Rosemary treet Church and the "Entries." With the help of a local guide organize a customized tour of Clifton ll ouse, J\lary Ann McCracken's I louse on Donegall Street and City Graveyard off Clifto n Street. The ship RMS Titanic is synon ymou s with Belfast. The transformation of the storied docklands of Harla nd & Wolff, w here the ship was built, into Titanic Qua ncr is the

largest urban de,¡elopmem in Northern Ireland. A selection of specialized tours makes this area a key point on your itinerary. \\'WW.titanictoursbelfast.co.uk. Other must-see stops include Queen's University, near the restored Ulster Museum; and downtown, where you can visit City Hall and stop at the Crown Bar across from the landmark Europa Hotel. Don't miss the designer boutiques and cafes o r Lisburn Road. just outside d1c dry is The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum wid1 its Titanic exhibition. Revel in a perfect museum sening, nestled on a lush 178-acre parkland overlooking Belfast Lough in the Cultra area.

quility, rural landscapes and pretty seaside towns and villages. At Groomsport trace me story of Eagle's \XTing, the fabled ship North America bound with early Scots-Irish emigrants. Then pop into the Bangor Heritage Centre and Bangor Abbey. Gardeners and architectural enthusiasts will enjoy Mount Stewart I louse and Gardens. The nearby village of G reyabbey is noted for its antique shops. Visit the Greek Revival Presbyterian Church m Portaferry, and t.'lke a five-minute ferry ride to trangford village. Visit nearby scenic Castle Ward. It's a quick step from here to the St. Patrick's Trail, which leads to An11agh, d1e ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. This dignified city boasts Saint Patrick's Catholic Cad1edral and aint Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral. At Downpatrick visit t. Patrick's Gra,¡e and St. Patrick's Centre and Down Counry Museum. ="earby scenic villages include Dromara, Hillsborough, J\loira and Banbridge. TI1e Craigavon area around Portadown and Lurgan features important landmarks associated with me Ulster Scots. At Lurgan Park you can learn how English linen barons designed their estates. The ationa ! Trust maintains an 18th cenwry gentleman's farmhouse at Ardress. Nearhy is t.he site of the Battle of me Diamond and the cottage where the Orange Order is said to have been founded, still run by the Winter family clown ti11'0Ugh aiJ me generations.

6. SAIL The Lakes of Fermanagh (Southwest: The Lakelands of County Ferrnanagh). Fermanagh offers stunning lakeh1nd scenery and an abundance of castles. The twin lakes o f Lough Erne cover one-third of Fermanagh. Visit the Marble Arch Caves Eu ropean Gcopark, a fascinating natural underworld of rivers and waterfalls. llere one finds a number of the country's Anglo-Irish family homes. Florence Court. built in the mid-eighteenth century. is noted for its roc·oco plasterwork. while Castle Coole, completed in 1798, is one of the best neo-classical homes in Ireland. Eniskillen's famo us Portera Royal School,

Grand Central Terminal The prestigious Vanderbilt Hall, an exhibition space in NewYork's Grand Central Terminal, is one of the most heavily trafficked locations in Manhattan.!! was chosen to showcase the best of Northern Ireland to the broadest possible public.

Opened in 1871 and rebuilt in 1913 the terminal was named for the New York Central Railroad inthe heyday of American long-distance passenger trains. It is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms: 44. with 67 tracks along them. In 1968, Penn Central unveiled plans for a tower designed by Marcel Breuer even bigger than the Pan Am Building to be built over Grand Central. The plans drew huge opposition. most prommenHy from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. New York City filed a suit to stop the construction. The resulting case, Penn Central Transportation Co. vs. New York City (1978), was the first time that the Supreme Court ruled on a matter of historic preservation. In the fall of 1998. a 12-year restoration of Grand Central revealed the original luster of the Main Concourse's elaborately decorated ceiling.

founded in 1608. boasts such literary alumni a-. Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckerr. You can stay with the Brooke Family at Colebrooke ; the Duke of .\bercorn. a member of the Hamilton family. has opened Belle Isle School of Cookery where v isilOrs prepare l unch w ith local produce, and can stay overnight. A visit to Fermanagh ~·ould not be complete withour shopping at Belleek Pottery. For a luxurious stay. follow the road to Lough Erne Golf Resort. a stunning ne"· resort located between Lough Erne and Lough Castle Hume, wit h spectacu lar views over rippling lakes and green landscapes.

How to Get There Continental Airlines is the only airline offering direct non-stop service to Belfast International Airport (from Newark, NJ). The following airlines offer service to Dublin, and new Motorway roads allow you to get to Northern Ireland in just over an hour from Dublin Airport which is on the north side of the city. Once you are in Northern Ireland it is a further hour's drive to Belfast.

Where to Stay The Hastings Hotel Group is an independent, locally owned group, which includes the 5 star Culloden Estate and Spa, the world-famous Europa Hotel and the contemporary Stormont Hotel in Belfast. www.hastingshotels.com

Aerlingus American Airlines Continental Airlines Delta Air Lines USAirways

Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com

www.aerlingus.com www.aa.com www.continental.com www.detta.com www.usairways.com

US Tour Operators A packaged vacation offers a variety of choices including arange of fully escorted coach tours. selfdrive vacations, golf, cycling, walking, horse riding and fishing. A package, including pre-paid vouchers, can be booked before departure from aUS tour operator. www.discoverireland.com/offers Car Hires Hertz, Avis, Dan Dooley and National all offer car hire from Belfast's two airports. For one-way rentals Dan Dooley foregoes drop-off fees if rental is more than 3 days. www.dan-dooley.ie Group coach hire The Airporter provides group transfers between Belfast International Airport and Derry. www.airporter.co.uk

Merchant Hotel Belfast www.themerchanthotel.com

Lough Erne Golf Resort, County Fermanagh www.loughernegolfresort.com Galgorm Resort and Spa, County Antrim www.galgorm.com There are some lovely old manor houses that have been tastefully restored as hotels and guesthouses Beech Hill Country House Hotel, County Derry www.beech-hill.com Bed and Breakfast accommodation can be found in the towns and countryside throughoutUister For this and general information visit www.Discoverireland.com/northernireland

For more information on visiting Northern Ireland contact Tourism Ireland: 345 Park Ave., 17th fl., New York, NY 10154 • Telephone: (800) 223-6470 • Fax· (212) 371·9052 • www.dlscovenreland.com/northermreland

A Special Supplement for Irish America Magazine. Produced by Turlough McConnell and Kate Overbeck.



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Journey Into O’Neill



If Brian Dennehy says the Irish can do no wrong, we should probably be inclined to believe him. At 72, the veteran actor of film, television and stage has not only become famous for his portrayals of the working-class Irish American, he has also starred in plays by some of the most revered Irish and Irish-American playwrights in history: Samuel Beckett, Eugene O’’Neill, Sean O’’Casey and Brian Friel. Though Dennehy’’s career has spanned over 60 films and more than 100 TV movies and stage plays, he is the first to admit that he has never been and never will attain the level of celebrity that many of his contemporaries have found. His reasoning behind this is straightforward (he is unsparingly honest): ““I think a lot of it is the physicality…… you look a certain way and you sound a certain way. I will probably never be asked to play the same parts as Kevin Kline or even Kevin Spacey……and that’’s OK with me.”” Dennehy’’s modesty seems to befit a career that appears fairly quiet until you get it down on paper. He’’s received several accolades for his work, including Screen Actors’’ Guild and Golden Globe Awards for his performance as Willy Loman in the 2001 televised version of Arthur Miller’’s Death of a Salesman. Dennehy is still better known to the general public for his working-class roles than for his portrayal of America’’s most famous tragic salesman. Dennehy has become renowned for bringing new

life to characters on the stage who have been portrayed multiple times before. One might expect an actor to religiously abstain from watching other performances of the same characters, but not Dennehy, who wryly comments, ““Sure, I would steal from anybody…… sometimes you try to steal from other actors but you can’’t.”” He refers specifically to Jason Robards, a friend and fellow stage actor who was also famous for his interpretations of O’’Neill plays; both Dennehy and Robards (who died in 2000) have acted in The Iceman Cometh, A Touch of the Poet, Hughie and A Long Day’’s Journey into Night. ““I remember when I saw Iceman I was so impressed with Jason Robards’’ performance [as Hickey] that I thought there was only one way you could do it. And I tried to play him in that really dark, deeply cynical way that he did, and I realized after a few weeks of rehearsal that I really couldn’’t do it that way…… I realized I had to play him in a different way and the way it worked for me was to play him quite the opposite –– he was the happiest guy in the world, he had found the secret.”” Nowadays, after four decades of theatrical experience, Dennehy has taken over the role of the inimitable force in O’’Neill’’s works. In 2003, he won a Best Actor Tony for his performance in Long Day’’s Journey into Night, and overall has been nominated for six Emmys in O’’Neill plays. This year, he is the recipient of the aptly-named Eugene O’’Neill Lifetime




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Brian Dennehy as Erie Smith in Hughie at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

to Ireland. And one of the experiences which impacted the strongest on him in his youth was seeing the Abbey Theatre when they were on tour in New York. He was very young at that point, probably in his early twenties, and he thought the Abbey Theatre was superior to the Moscow Art Theatre, which also came to New York.”” Though O’’Neill experienced great success in the early and middle years of his career, multiple health problems saw him fade into obscurity, even as he continued to write. He battled depression and alcoholism throughout his life, becoming estranged from his own children as he was from his parents and siblings. In the late 1930s, O’’Neill barely completed A Touch of the Poet, the first in a cycle of a projected 11 plays following an American family over a 100 year period, before he lost the ability to use a pencil due to unbearable tremors in his hands. Having received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936, he died in 1953 with relatively little attention. ““O’’Neill is a man who, the older he got the darker he got, the more painful his life seemed to be,”” says Dennehy. ““Probably within a year to three years of his death he was rediscovered because of José Quintero and Jason Robards and his work found a whole new international audience……Usually he hated the productions done of his work –– he didn’’t have much affection or respect for most actors or directors. It got to the point where later in his career when he was doing his best work, he would send written copies of his plays to the critics because he wanted them


Achievement Award, bestowed upon an actor, musician, writer, painter or other type of artist who has achieved the highest level of artistic integrity. The award is given annually by Irish American Writers & Artists, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting ““the rich tradition of Irish Americans in all manner of artistic endeavor in the United States, from the 19th century to the present day.”” The award follows Dennehy’’s most recent successful endeavor into Irish theater –– a double bill of O’’Neill’’s Hughie and Beckett’’s Krapp’’s Last Tape earlier this year. The project began at the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, R.I., where Dennehy and fellow Hughie actor Joe Grifasi paired the O’’Neill play with the O’’Casey one-act comedy A Pound on Demand. Though Dennehy is a big fan of O’’Casey, the audience didn’’t quite see the connection between the darker Hughie and the farcical Pound. ““The Pound on Demand and a couple others were written specifically for the Abbey [Players] to do on tour, usually in the more rural parts of Ireland, in the teens and 20s, because there was no radio or television in those days. They were kind of raucous Irish plays……very, very funny, but of course it’’s slapstick. And we found that the audience was very confused by the juxtaposition of those two plays, so we didn’’t repeat the experiment.”” Finally Dennehy came up with the idea to pair Hughie, written by O’’Neill later in life, with another play characterized by an artist ““looking back”” –– Samuel Beckett’’s Krapp’’s Last Tape. Hughie, set in a small hotel in midtown New York in 1928, is a 45-minute rambling near-monologue by Erie Smith, a lowly gambler who laments his lousy circumstances to the hotel clerk Charlie Hughes. Hughes is the successor to Hughie, whose death Erie blames for his bad turn of luck, revealing in the process that his self-absorption is a cover for an intense loneliness now that Hughie is gone. In Krapp’’s Last Tape, Dennehy plays an old man who inhabits a room surrounded by reel-to-reel recordings of his reflections on his life. Krapp never leaves this room, his desk or his tape player, giving the image of a bitter old man obsessed with his younger life, which he plays back to himself on an endless loop. Superficially, both plays appear to be equally cynical and humorless, and indeed both have been performed this way. But Dennehy’’s experience with performing O’’Neill and now Beckett has revealed differences in their world views that have lent themselves to interpreting these plays in a fresh way. ““I’’d say that O’’Neill turned out to be more bitter and cynical and dark and pessimistic than Beckett. Beckett himself as a writer and philosopher accepted the world and life and humanity as he found it, whereas I think that O’’Neill had that earlier attitude that somehow it was all disappointing……life did not turn out to be the way I think he felt it should be.”” Indeed, O’’Neill’’s life was one of tragedy and darkness. Born in a hotel on Broadway and 43rd Street (which is now a Starbucks in the heart of Times Square) in 1888, he was the son of James O’’Neill, a famous actor who had grown up in extreme poverty in Ireland. Eugene’’s strained relationship with his father and knowledge of the hardships he had endured may have been the reason that O’’Neill himself never expressed interest in visiting Ireland, though Dennehy argues that O’’Neill’’s plays are infused with an ““Irish sensibility””: ““He was indelibly Irish, and yet he never went



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to understand what he had written rather than what was produced on the stage.”” Undoubtedly, Dennehy feels an affinity for O’’Neill’’s works and has found a continually expanding challenge in making O’’Neill’’s plays work for the audience. While he has performed in many plays by Irish playwrights, Dennehy has singled out O’’Neill as having particularly compelling qualities for him as an actor and as an Irish American. ““I think if you’’re an American and Irish American and Irish Catholic American, which I am, it’’s pretty hard to avoid O’’Neill. And once you begin to work with O’’Neill, you realize how demanding and powerful he is. If you can do O’’Neill successfully, if you can make the audience respond to his very difficult material, you can do anything. And you realize as I did early on, as I did before I was doing it, when I was watching it with Jason Robards or even Al Pacino [in Hughie], you realize what an important playwright he was. He was unsparing of himself and the audience and the actor and the director.”” ““Once you’’ve been exposed to that and you’’ve worked on that and tried to make it succeed, it’’s hard to move back to lesser material. You want to accept that challenge……you just want to explore the next trip, and I have forty years doing it. And it doesn’’t always work…… That’’s something about O’’Neill, it’’s always out there hanging in front of you, and no matter how much effort you make, it’’s always just beyond your grasp. But it’’s good work to reach for it.”” Still, Dennehy’’s career is admirably eclectic –– in the past few

more excited to return to Ireland, a place he called home for about ten years. His Irish roots extend to the West and Southwest of Ireland on both sides of his family –– on his father’’s side, his grandfather was born in Millstreet, County Cork, and his grandmother was born in Kilmacalogue in West Cork. He knows that they ““were born back in the 1850s or 1860s, and were essentially farm workers, and my grandfather emigrated I’’m guessing sometime around 1900 –– 1904, 1905, he was very young. All of his brothers and sisters eventually came to America and they were all factory workers –– they worked for a major factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Jenkin’’s Valve, which is no longer there.”” On Dennehy’’s mother’’s side were the Mannions. His grandmother emigrated from Waterford and became a domestic in the United States, a few generations earlier than his father’’s people. Most of his relatives settled in Bridgeport and Danbury. Like O’’Neill’’s father James, who was born in Kilkenny during the worst year of the Great Famine, 1847, Dennehy’’s paternal grandfather refused to return to Ireland in his later years. ““My grandfather who was an immigrant under the worst conditions didn’’t go back and never wanted to go back, refused to go back, he was so bitter about his experiences as a child. I think most Irish Americans have forgotten how difficult it was for those people. But I can still remember his scars about that. That’’s something that we shouldn’’t forget……how difficult it was in the 1880s and the 1890s and before.”” He might not admit it himself, but the scope of Dennehy’’s

That’s something about O’Neill, it’s always

out there hanging in front of you, and no matter how much effort you make, it’s always just beyond your grasp. But it’s good work to reach for it.” years he’’s lent his voice to the animated film Ratatouille, narrated a docudrama called Death or Canada about the escape of Irish Famine immigrants to Canadian ports, and even guest-starred on an episode of 30 Rock as a teamster, in a spoof of his workingclass image. But these recent appearances in the movie and TV world now seem secondary to what has been a full and successful stage career. In 1992, for instance, Dennehy played Hickey in The Iceman Cometh at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to extremely receptive audiences. ““It was fun to play to those Irish audiences because they were smart enough to understand what O’’Neill was getting at……The Iceman Cometh is very funny –– it’’s very dark but it’’s very funny, particularly the first act as he recounts the weaknesses of each of these individuals, as they repeat these delusions to get through their lives. The Irish audiences roared with laughter because they recognized the humor in that.”” Almost 20 years later, this December he will be returning to Ireland to perform in a John B. Keane play called The Field in a tour of Dublin, Cork and Galway. Dennehy says he could not be

career speaks to the way Irish Americans have built upon that past to create a variety of images of themselves. T.J. English, author and Irish American Writers & Artists co-founder, said upon announcing Dennehy’’s Eugene O’’Neill award, ““For over thirty years, in movies, on television and on stage, he has come to embody an iconic image of a certain type of working-class American. The cop, the priest, the fireman, the soldier –– Dennehy has brought nobility and passion to these roles and established himself as the dean of American actors.”” While this is true, Dennehy’’s stage career has also been a testament to the intellectualism of Irish and Irish-American artists and their exports –– so he says himself when anyone’’s too quick to pigeonhole the Irish as only good guys in uniforms. ““They’’re pretty sophisticated, Irishmen……Brendan Behan was about as smart a human being there ever was, but it doesn’’t mean you’’d necessarily think it if you saw him at first glance in a bar. But that’’s the thing about the Irish, they can fool you like that.”” Here’’s to a future of Irish artists, writers and performers who IA are willing to keep surprising us. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 61



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The Sinking of the


The legend lives on from Chippewa on down of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee. On November 10, 2010, crowds of people will gather at the Mariner’’s Memorial Lighthouse, on the banks of the Detroit River in River Rouge, Michigan, as well as at the Mariner’’s Church in Detroit. The somber crowds will be gathering to mark the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a terrible storm in 1975, killing all 29 men on board. These days, with the thousands murdered in the attacks of 9/11, and thousands more lost in the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, the loss of life resulting from the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking, while tragic, seems relatively small. However, there is one important reason why so many Americans still remember those noble seamen who lost their lives that sad day on Lake Superior. Just months after the ““Mighty Fitz”” sank, Canadian-born singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot 62 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

penned the epic ballad ““The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,”” which became a massive hit on U.S. radio and across North America. The song –– which tells of ““that good ship and true”” as a ““bone to be chewed / when the Gales of November came early”” –– ended up spending over 20 weeks on the U.S. charts. The song proved so evocative that Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore used Lightfoot’’s melody when he recorded the song ““Back Home in Derry”” –– with lyrics by Bobby Sands –– just three years after the international outcry over the hunger strikes that made Sands an international icon.

The Irish and the “Mighty Fitz” The 35th anniversary of the Fitzgerald’’s sinking is a good time to reflect on the broader Irish links to the tragic sinking. The ship itself, after all, was named after a member of a prominent Irish-American shipping family. Among the crew members who perished were men with names such as Rafferty, O’’Brien and McCarthy. The ship’’s captain was a Toledo, Ohio



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Edmund Fitzgerald with his daughter Elizabeth. The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald eclipsed Edmund Fitzgerald the man. He served as an artillery captain during World War I and graduated from Yale University before returning home to work at the Milwaukee Malleable Iron Co., where he rose to be secretary. He was elected to the board at Northwestern Mutual in 1933 and was made its chairman in 1958, retiring two years later. He served on countless boards and was a strong patron of the city of Milwaukee. Fitzgerald died in 1986 at the age of 90.

native named Ernest McSorley. Finally, though the ship sank over three decades ago, new developments continue to alter our understanding of how the ship sunk –– and even how Gordon Lightfoot performs the ballad to this day. Earlier this year, as a matter of fact, the troubadour decided to change a key lyrical passage to reflect new information about the ship’’s fatal voyage. Why does the story and song of the Edmund Fitzgerald still resonate? Perhaps the best question to start with is this: Who, exactly, was Edmund Fitzgerald?

Six Fitzgerald Brothers The story of the Fitzgerald shipping clan begins in the early 19th century, when William and Julianna Fitzgerald left Ireland. Edmund’’s great-grandparents ““were immigrants from Ireland and settled first in China Township, St. Clair County, in 1837, on a farm near Marine City, Michigan,”” local historian Dick Wicklund wrote in a 2006 edition of The Lightship, the newsletter of the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society. Six of the Fitzgerald boys eventually became captains on the Great Lakes later in the 19th century, including the oldest, Edmond (spelled with an ‘‘o’’) and the youngest, John, who relocated to Milwaukee. John’’s own son William eventually took control of a family shipyard, which had been established in Milwaukee. Sadly, William Fitzgerald died when his

youngest son, Edmund, (with a ‘‘u’’) was just six years old. A fellow Irish-American veteran of the sea, Captain Dennis Sullivan, sought to honor the memory of Edmund’’s father by naming a ship after him, christening the W.E. Fitzgerald in 1906. This was known as ““Little Fitz”” when, five decades later, in 1958, the ““big”” or ““Mighty”” Fitz”” took to the waters: The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, named in honor of William’’s son Edmund. Edmund did not enter the family business, but was instead promoted to the office of president of the company that owned the ship —— the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee. But even if Edmund Fitzgerald was not a man of the sea, his family’’s link to the waters was well known. Edmund’’s daughter Elizabeth Cutler eventually wrote a family history entitled Six Fitzgerald Brothers: Lake Captains All. The book was published in 1983. Three years later, her own father passed away, ““still deeply saddened by the wreck of the ship named for him,”” as local historian Dick Wicklund wrote.

That Awful Day When it hit the waters in 1958, the ““Mighty Fitz”” was the largest freighter sailing the Great Lakes, at over 700 feet long and 75 feet wide, with a 7,500-horsepower engine. By November 9, 1975, Ernest McSorley had been the ship’’s captain for three years, with some four decades of shipping experience under his belt. At around 8:30 that morning, the ship was loaded with over 26,000 tons of iron ore, to be transported over Lake Superior. That afternoon, not long after the Fitzgerald set sail, the National Weather Service issued a warning for gale-force winds. Just after midnight on November 10, Captain McSorley and the Fitzgerald crew were facing waves ten feet high. Still, the Fitzgerald ably battled the elements well into the afternoon of November 10. Another ship, the S.S. Arthur Anderson, captained by Jesse Cooper, eventually made radio contact with Captain McSorley. It is believed that at around 7 p.m. the ship was pummeled by two massive waves, possibly as high as 35 feet. Winds, by this time, were said to be gusting close to 100 miles an hour. And yet, at 7:10 p.m., Captain McSorley said of the ship: ““We are holding our own.”” Captain Cooper still believed he could help guide the Fitzgerald safely to nearby Whitefish Bay —— under 10 miles away —— even after the ship’’s radar signal disappeared behind a snow squall, which was not uncommon. The Mighty Fitz, however, never returned to the radar screen. When the sun rose on November 10, as families were beginning to be notified, and the awful reality began to sink in, Rev. Richard Ingalls rang the bell at Detroit’’s Mariner’’s Church 29 times –– one time for each crew OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 63



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member aboard the vanished S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald.

A Song for the Ages Later in November, Newsweek magazine ran a report on the Fitzgerald tragedy entitled ““Great Lakes: The Cruelest Month.”” The article begins: ““According to a legend of the Chippewa tribe, the lake they once called Gitche Gumee ‘‘never gives up her dead.’’”” And so the seed of Lightfoot’’s song was planted. The record was released in 1976 and was an immediate, if unlikely, hit. Unlike most pop songs –– Rod Stewart’’s syrupy ode to seduction ““Tonight’’s the Night”” was number one at the time –– Lightfoot’’s song had complex lyrics and no chorus. It was also nearly seven minutes long. Nevertheless, this was the post-folk era of the singer-songwriter, of Don McLean (““American Pie””) and Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. Lightfoot rode that wave and created an epic which is as catchy as it is atmospheric. The lyrics are both simple (““The ship was the pride of the American side / When they left fully loaded for Cleveland””) and existential (““Does anyone know where the love of God goes / When the waves turn the minutes to hours””). They also capture the unique experience of the sea culture of Michigan, Canada and the broader Great Lakes region. Perhaps most interestingly, just this year, Lightfoot decided to change parts of the song’’s lyrics. At one point, Lightfoot sings: When suppertime came the old cook came on deck saying Fellas, it’’s too rough to feed you. At 7 p.m. a main hatchway caved in; he said Fellas, it’’s been good to know ya! The third line of that section was based on the assumption that crew members failed to secure the hatchway. To some, this placed a mild amount of blame for the ship’’s demise on the crew. Subsequent research, however, suggests the crew had done everything it could. So, when Lightfoot, now 71, performs the song in concert, he sings: ““At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said / Fellas……”” Incidentally, ““the old cook”” refers to one of the several Irish Americans who went down with the ship: Robert Rafferty.

The Irish Version Lightfoot’’s ““The Wreck”” made the men on the ship immortal. Every November 10, at the Mariner’’s Church, the bell is rung 29 times. The ship was eventually discovered 500 feet underwater. On the 20th anniversary of the sinking, in 1995, the ship’’s own bell was brought to the surface and put on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. But if there were any doubts that Lightfoot’’s song was a transcendent masterpiece, they were erased earlier, in 1984, less than a decade after the tragedy. That’’s when Irish balladeer Christy Moore set the song’’s hyp64 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Left: The “Mighty Fitz” was the largest freighter sailing the Great Lakes, at over 700 feet long and 75 feet wide, with a 7,500-horsepower engine. Above: The ship’s bell, brought to the surfact in 1995, is on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

notic melody to lyrics entitled ““Back Home in Derry.”” The lyrics were written by Bobby Sands, who had taken part in the infamous 1981 Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland. During that time, Sands was famously elected to parliament, before perishing, along with nine other strikers, in Long Kesh prison. Just three years after Sands’’ death, Moore set Sands’’ words to Lightfoot’’s music. Though based on events half a world away, there are striking lyrical similarities between ““The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”” and ““Back Home in Derry.”” The Sands ballad, like Lightfoot’’s, is about a perilous sea journey. ““Back Home in Derry,”” however, is set in 1803, as Irish prisoners are ““Australia bound / if we didn’’t all drown / And the marks of our fetters we carried.”” In the rusty iron chains we sighed for our wains As our good wives we left in sorrow. As the mainsails unfurled our curses we hurled On the English and thoughts of tomorrow. Oh, I wish I was back home in Derry. Oh, I wish I was back home in Derry.

Remember In recent years, the Edmund Fitzgerald memorial has become a service not only for the 29 lost on November 10, 1975 but for all those who ever perished at sea. This seems fitting, just as Christy Moore adapting Lightfoot’’s music brought out the song’’s universality. This shows us that there are no international boundaries when it comes to great art. In the end, the precise reason why the Edmund Fitzgerald sank was never established. The ship ““might have split up,”” the song tells us. It may have broke deep and took water. All that remains are the faces and the names Of the wives and the son and the daughters. Of course, one more thing remains: the music.




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Sean O’Casey and the Abbey Theatre –

An Enduring

Sean O’Casey’s masterpiece The Plough and the Stars returned to the Abbey Theatre a rousing success. STEPHEN FEARON looks at the connection between O’Casey and the early success of Ireland’s National Theatre.



t is likely that no other theatre in the English-speaking world is more identified with an individual playwright, and owes more to that playwright, than the Abbey Theatre does to Sean O’’Casey (1880-1964). The Abbey’’s productions of three O’’Casey plays, The Shadow of Gunman (1923), Juno and the Paycock (1924) and The Plough and the Stars (1926) –– O’’Casey’’s Dublin trilogy –– sustained the theatre in its early years, a fact publicly acknowledged by W.B. Yeats, an Abbey director. It was primarily these plays that accounted for the world-wide reputation of the Abbey and its magnificent company of actors: Barry Fitzgerald, F.J. McCormack, Cyril Cusack, Sara Allgood, Jack McGowran, Arthur Shields, Siobhan McKenna and many more. The Plough was the most controversial and arguably the best of these plays as it questioned the canonical heroism of some Irish patriots and satirized the love of war and bloodshed celebrated in the fulminations of Patrick Pearse. It was at the fourth night’’s performance of The Plough that there was an audience riot at the Abbey, ostensibly over the appearance in the Act II pub scene of both the Irish tricolor and a lady of the PHOTO: STEPHEN FEARON. evening, one Rosie Redmond. Legend has Abbey productions of his trilogy and was it that Yeats mounted the stage to quiet the estranged from the Abbey (and Yeats) for rioters and said: ““You have disgraced many years after Yeats rejected O’’Casey’’s yourselves again. This is O’’Casey’’s next play, The Silver Tassie, in 1928. apotheosis.”” O’’Casey remained in England for the O’’Casey moved to London after the rest of his life, married Eileen Carey and 66 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

TOP: Tony Flynn and Joe Hanley in the Abbey Theatre production of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey. LEFT: Editor Patricia Harty, Shivaun O’Casey, Fiach Mac Conghail, artistic director of the Abbey Theatre, and Wayne Jordan, who directed the theatre’s current production of The Plough and the Stars.

had three children, Breon, Niall, and daughter Shivaun who for many years ran the O’’Casey Theatre Company in New York, which produced her father’’s many plays and autobiographical works. On July 29, Shivaun was at the Abbey to lecture on her father’’s work, an event coinciding with the Abbey’’s current revival of The Plough and the Stars. Lisa Farrelly of the Abbey moderated the question and answer session with Shivaun before a packed and enthusiastic audience. Shivaun spoke of her father with great



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warmth and affection and remembered falling asleep most nights as a young girl to the tap-tap sound of his typewriter in an adjacent room. His typewriter and his fountain pen, by the way, were not toys she and her brothers could play with. She also recalled Sean’’s great affinity for the American GIs who were sent by the thousands to the south of England in the spring

Larkin, who organized the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, a tribune of the Dublin working man, especially during the infamous lockout of 1913. The other major influence on O’’Casey, personally and professionally, was G.B. Shaw, another Dubliner familiar with poverty and deprivation. Shaw became an O’’Casey family mentor to the point of

Barry Ward, Denise Gough and Dara Devaney in the Abbey Theatre production of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey, directed by Wayne Jordan.

of 1944 in the lead-up to the Normandy invasion. He always remembered his days in America with fondness and had lifelong friendships with many Americans, including Eugene O’’Neill, Lillian Gish and George Jean Nathan. The current run of The Plough at the Abbey is scheduled to end September 25, and this production directed by Wayne Jordan has received excellent reviews from the Dublin critics. Shivaun also mentioned that one of her father’’s great influences was James

recommending to O’’Casey where his children should go to school. Finally, Shivaun also mentioned O’’Casey’’s melancholy involvement with An Tóstal (Ireland At Home), an annual cultural festival inaugurated in 1953 and intended to celebrate the cultural, social and sporting events expressive of the Irish way of life. O’’Casey was invited to submit a play and he sent in The Drums of Father Ned. The Tóstal Council was chaired by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and its membership consisted of business and

Sean O’Casey.

cultural leaders in the community. It was the tradition that Archbishop John McQuaid would celebrate a mass at the Pro Cathedral to initiate the festival, and he agreed to do so in October 1958. Shortly thereafter somebody sent the Archbishop a program and drew his attention to the inclusion of an excerpt from James Joyce’’s Ulysses, the O’’Casey play and three mime plays by Samuel Beckett. The Archbishop then wrote the Secretary of the Tóstal Council asking if it was true that Joyce and O’’Casey were part of the drama program and shortly thereafter McQuaid withdrew his consent to the requested celebration of the mass. O’’Casey became exasperated with the machinations of the Dublin hierarchy and the organizers of the festival and summarily withdrew his play. Once O’’Casey withdrew, Beckett withdrew his three plays and the Ulysses adaptation was also canceled. Shivaun mentioned that her father was greatly saddened by the supine reaction of the Dublin cultural and business elite who simply caved in to the Archbishop’’s arbitrary scuttling of this major cultural festival, an event of course which could never happen today. Eighty years on, modern Ireland has a new appreciation for O’’Casey. The Plough was praised by audiences and critics alike. The Druid Theatre’’s production of The Silver Tassie opened in Galway on August 23, also to rave reviews. Both these plays show us the terrible cost of warfare on the human experience. They also show us that Sean O’’Casey’’s work is as relevant today as it ever was. IA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 67



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Long-Lost Irish Play a Success in New York N

ew York’’s Mint Theater is reviving the work of Teresa Deevy, one of the most significant female playwrights of the early 1930s. From Waterford, Ireland, Deevy was training to become a teacher when Méniéres disease took away her hearing. She learned lipreading in London and there developed her interest in the theater. In 1930, the Abbey Theatre in Dublin began producing her work, and put on six of her plays in seven years, most famously 1936’’s Katie Roche about a servant’’s aspirations of glamour. Deevy was known for her modern use of conversational dialogue, and her plots often focus around those who are in some way ostracized from the world around them. Ignored in Irish theatrical history, Deevy’’s work has largely disappeared until now. The Mint Theater recently staged Deevy’’s Wife to James Whelan, a unique love story which Deevy struggled for years over before it was rejected by Ernest Blythe of the Abbey Theatre. After the Abbey’’s rejection, Deevy’’s relationship with the theatre was over. (The rejection caused great discontent amongst the Abbey players, and some, including Cyril Cusack and Ria Mooney, left to form the short-lived Players Theatre.) Deevy found a new career for herself writing radio plays for the BBC and Radio Eireann. It was ten years before Wife to James Whelan was staged in Dublin in a well-received production at the Studio Theatre Club. The Mint Theater’’s production has also been a critical success, much to the relief of director Jonathan Banks, who staked his reputation and the theater’’s financial well-being on Deevy. Speaking to Irish America, Banks, who as artistic director of the Mint Theater is dedicated to ““excavating buried theatrical treasures,”” said: ““I ‘‘discovered’’ her [Deevy]


ABOVE: Kate Moran (Rosie Benton) and James Whelan (Shawn Fagan) in the Mint Theater’s production of Wife to James Whelan. LEFT: Irish playwright Teresa “Tessa” Deevy (1894-1963).

when I was looking through the production history of the Abbey Theatre’’s first fifty years. I made a list of all the women who had full-length plays produced at the Abbey, and she was the only one who ever had any of her work published, making it possible for me to read some of her work. I can hardly describe the excitement I felt when I started reading –– her gift leapt off the page for me and I knew I was in the presence of a real playwright.”” The Mint Theater has ambitious plans for showcasing Deevy’’s work. Banks explains, ““The response to the play has been fantastic, better than I could have ever imagined. I’’ve staked more than just my reputation on this writer, I’’ve

committed a great deal of the company’’s resources and future on her! Next year we’’ll be producing her play Temporal Powers and I’’m also planning on publishing her Collected Works. We will also do readings of a number of her shorter plays, and maybe even another full production. But I have to admit, I was very anxious in the days before opening. I didn’’t know how the critics were going to respond and I was wondering if I might have to back away quietly from my grand plans. It’’s been so gratifying, not only to have my faith in this brilliant writer affirmed by so many people, but also to know that audiences are clamoring for more –– very eager to learn more about the writer and to see IA more of her work.”” – Kara Rota

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{ review of books}

A selection of recently published books of Irish and Irish-American interest.



ennifer Egan is best known for her 2006 novel The Keep, but her works also include a short story collection and two previous novels. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Egan is recognizable for her genre-bending style that lays a fresh backdrop to vivid realism. Her 2010 novel A Visit from the Goon Squad has been criti-

ing of the buzz and critical acclaim Egan has enjoyed thus far. – Kara Rota (288 p. / Knopf / $25.95)


fter reading Tana French’’s gripping second novel, The Likeness, I should have expected that her new Dublin Murder Squad mystery would keep me equally in its grasp. Faithful Place, named after the Dublin neighborhood where detective Frank Mackey

been intercepted and their teenage dream violently put to an end. When Frank’’s young daughter Holly begins to ask precocious questions that involve her in a mystery begun long before her birth, Frank is reminded that, as William Faulkner put it, ““the past is never dead. It’’s not even past.”” Tana French is the bestselling author of In the Woods, which won the Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards, and of The Likeness. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, Malawi, and the United States, and trained as an actor at Trinity College, Dublin. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter. – Kara Rota (416 p. / Viking / $25.95)



cally lauded and beloved by her many fans, with highlights that include a section of narrative made up brilliantly of Powerpoint slides and an anthropological take on a wealthy older man bringing his grad student girlfriend on an African safari with his two children. Creating a whole that is larger than a collection of linked stories, Goon Squad slides easily from the voices of San Francisco punks Bennie, Alice, Scotty and Jocelyn in the 1980s, to a twenty-something kleptomaniac, Sasha, with her therapist in New York, and then to Sasha’’s daughter, many years later, growing up in an uncanny, terrifying and eerily believable imagined near-future. The characters’’ interlinked lives, spanning half a century, create a dizzying picture of cultural evolution and individual decay, in a postmodern epic well deserv70 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

grew up in a tangle of fighting parents, drunken brawls and family secrets, does not disappoint. It holds at its core the gorgeous mystery of first love, full of infinite promise gone horribly wrong. Frank, who has stayed away from his family and childhood home for twenty-two years, is drawn back by a frantic phone call from the one sister he hasn’’t shut out, Jackie, and news of evidence that might shed light on the disappearance of Rosie Daly, a spitfire nineteen-year-old, on the night she and Frank had planned to elope to England and start a new life together working for rock bands. Caught between his identities as undercover cop and prodigal son, Frank is forced to confront the consequences of the possibility that, rather than standing him up on that night long ago, Rosie had

he Outside Boy, memoirist Jeanine Cummins’’ successful first venture into fiction, explores life in Ireland in 1959 for Christy, a young Traveller boy. Cummins has crafted her eleven-year-old narrator into a vibrant and complicated figure. She creates a unique voice for him: one that borrows from the Pavee Gypsy vernacular but is still accessible to readers and fitting for Christy’’s startlingly astute observations. Cummins also does a fine job of vividly describing life on the road and blending precocious humor with the more serious aspects of Christy’’s story. In one instance, he amends a ““No Tinkers”” sign meant to ward off his family so that it reads ““No Thinkers.”” Christy is, in fact, a very deep thinker with a lot to figure out as hairline cracks start to form in the story of what he knows to be his life. As he makes brave steps to discover his past, the book fluctuates rapidly between moments of triumph and moments of grief, between the mundanely beautiful events of the end of childhood and the more extraordinary accomplishments of a small hero. Is Christy’’s story the most realistic? No. But The Outside Boy is engrossing, full of wonder, and will be best enjoyed if readers can, as Cummins requests in her Author’’s Note, suspend their disbelief for a little while. – Sheila Langan (384 p. / New American Library / $15.00)



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osemary Herbert’’s thriller Front Page Teaser, released October 1, follows the worlds of forensic investigation and tabloid newspapers as the investigative minds of these worlds collide in a rush to solve the case of missing Ellen Johansson. Front Page Teaser moves through the Boston Celtic music scene with Dr. Cormac Kinnaird, the forensic expert in the case and love interest for protagonist Liz Higgins. The story begins with the usual thriller punch as Liz Higgins, a columnist for a gossip paper in Boston, finds herself with a young girl she had once worked with in a blood-spattered kitchen, the girl’’s mother missing before police promptly escort the journalist away from the crime scene. The story then unfolds as the search for a body, a clue or any indication of the woman’’s whereabouts leads Higgins out of Boston on a wild chase to fulfill her promise to the little girl to find her mother. – Tara Dougherty (253 p. / Down East Books /$14.95)



aurice Fitzpatrick’’s book The Boys of St. Columb’’s offers a unique look into the history of St. Columb’’s College, a Catholic grammar school in Derry, Northern Ireland, and the significance of the 1947 Education Act, which allowed access to free secondary education to all in Northern Ireland. Fitzpatrick begins with a short biography of those past pupils interviewed, from Nobel Prize winners (St. Columb’’s is one of the few schools that can claim

two Nobel Laureates amongst its alumni –– John Hume and Seamus Heaney), to musicians and social activists. While each of those interviewed has St. Columb’’s in common, the interviews themselves take remarkable turns to different subjects. Author Seamus Deane details the state of Derry at the time of his education and his childhood there, while political activist Eamonn McCann carries the interview from subject to subject ranging from his earliest guerilla activity in Derry to his distaste for the way he was educated at St. Columb’’s. Still others, such as poet Seamus Heaney, fondly remember certain teachers who led their paths into various successes. The remarkable stories and careers of the men profiled, all rooted in the same school in the same period of time, are intertwined in unexpected and fascinating ways. Their school experiences, much like the Northern Irish world they lived in at the time, are filled with plurality and conflict. Fitzpatrick presents a compelling look into their world, their memories and history as his eight subjects remember it. Available for purchase at http://www.theliffeypress.com/ – Tara Dougherty (228 p. / The Liffey Press / $25.00)


illiam P. Sexton’’s Escape From Barbados chronicles the dramatic journey of Sean Tierney, a Limerick swordsman who is captured from his home by Cromwell’’s army one night in 1662. Delving into a somewhat neglected area of Irish history, Sexton’’s narrative follows Sean as he is taken aboard a slave ship and transported to a planta-

tion in Barbados, just as thousands of Irish were forcibly taken and enslaved during those years. Determined to go home, Sean sets out on a thirty-five-year quest to return to Ireland, encountering many new places and people, which are strange to him. Though he winds up in some dire situations, his ““fighting Irish spirit,”” as Sexton calls it, always sees him through. His adventure is a fastpaced, easy read. – Sheila Langan (105 p. / O’Séasnain / $12.99)


ith a plethora of titles such as An Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Bloody Irish: Great Irish Vampire Stories under his belt, few authors seem more fitting to address the spread of Celtic mythology across North America than Bob Curran. Curran provides a series of Celtic legends and their American counterparts in his new book, Mysterious Celtic Mythology in American Folklore. Told with whimsy and allure, conveyed akin to campfire tales, the book covers all manner of hauntings and forgotten lands, shape shifters and witches, leaving intace their extravagances. Familiar ground is not laboriously tread, keeping the book’’s pace fluent and intriguing. Their great variety illustrates Curran’’s extensive knowledge. Essentially, if you’’re craving a fascinating tour through the enigmatic and far-reaching influence of Celtic mythology, this addition to Curran’’s bibliography will satisfy, and perhaps deliver a IA few chills along the way. – James Lovett (296 p. / Pelican / $25.00) OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 71



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Fifteen years ago in March 1995, historian and author Thomas Cahill published How The Irish Saved Civilization, the first of his seven-volume Hinges of History series. A national phenomenon, the book appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly two years and changed the public’s understanding of the Irish people’s role in preserving Western civilization during the fall of the Roman Empire. Kara Rota spoke to Cahill about his book’s legacy. 72 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

In How the Irish Saved Civilization, you make a comparison between Rome and the current Western world as “the empire.” Recently, there’s been much discussion of whether our empire is on the verge of falling. Do you think that comparison holds up, fifteen years after the book’s initial publication? I don’’t believe in enormous predictions. What we do know is that there are certain patterns that seem invariable, and one of them is that all empires fall sooner or later. Rome’’s empire lasted twelve centuries, which is longer by far than any other historical empire known to us. The United States of America has only been around a couple hundred years. So is it about to slip into third place or something like that? I think it’’s hard to know. But what I do believe is that sooner or later our time in the sun will have come and gone. With regard to specific comparisons between Rome and the United States or the Western world, I see two very close comparisons. Rome was really done in by two forces, one internal and the other external. The internal force was injustice within the empire, which specifically was focused on taxation. In order to fund its many enterprises, the emperors taxed heavily. They taxed the poor and what now would be called the middle class. They didn’’t tax the rich. That’’s the internal comparison that I see. The external one has to do with the barbarians.The barbarians of the Roman Empire eventually, along with the injustices within the empire, brought down the empire. The barbarians were not really the wild marauding screwballs that we tend to think of them as. They were poor people who wanted in. They were immigrants. And we are doing a terrible job right now with immigration. We are trying to close

down our doors, which I think is one of the worst things we can do. If the Romans had looked at the problem rationally, they would’’ve said, the best thing that we can do is try to figure out how we can integrate these people into the society. They didn’’t do that. We can’’t afford to do the same thing. We must answer the question, how can we integrate these people? All this nonsense that’’s going on right now politically across the country, with people saying that we must build higher walls between Arizona and Mexico, is just silly. There’’s no wall that we could make that would be high enough and strong enough to keep them all out. And of course no one should know that better than Irish Americans who almost all have some relationship to immigration –– either directly or because of ancestors who came here at the turn of the 19th or 20th century –– otherwise they wouldn’’t be here. And that’’s true of almost all Americans with some Irish identity. So we of all people should be in the forefront of protecting immigrants and welcoming them.

I love the section in How The Irish Saved Civilization on scribes adding their own footnotes and commentary as they copy manuscripts — Part of it was that although they did know the alphabet and they could read and write, they weren’’t sophisticated people. You and I might find it rather boring to copy texts in languages that we didn’’t understand very well, like Greek, or, even if we did understand the language, the thoughts were so different from anything that would have been spoken by Irishmen in that period. The scribes were copying very difficult texts, and they entertained themselves by making little pictures in the margins and putting in little comments on the texts or on other scribes’’ work. At



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is linked to the idea of the tolerance of sin, and the acceptance of the cycle of sin and repentance that became the confession, which became the autobiography and then became fiction. I think there’s really a link between the kind of Christianity that Catholicism became to the Irish and the power of literacy there. Yes. Well, literacy gave them the world and they embraced it.

times they put in these beautiful little poems and that’’s how we have what we have left of early Irish poetry. It all started off as oral poetry, but it was written down by the monks and that’’s why we still have it. Maybe while they were copying out some particularly ponderous section of Plato, they would put in a little four-line poem about finding a girl in the medieval forest.

It’s almost like there’s a conversation going on between the authors and the scribes. I’m tempted to link this idea of intertexuality to Web media, open-source projects and the blogosphere where media is an ongoing conversation. Is that a link that you see? I do, and one of the great pioneers of this intertextuality was James Joyce; Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are reflections of that. In Ulysses he is in some ways in a dialogue with Homer. And Finnegans Wake is a dialogue with everything [laughs]; he tries to get everything in there one way or another. Whether it’’s from an opera or prose from the past that [Joyce] particularly admires; all of that is thrown into Finnegans Wake. So this is long before the Internet, but in some ways he really embodies that. There are some solid female characters in How the Irish – particularly Medb and Brigid, but I’m hesitant to idealize what women’s experiences were. Did they really have rights that were significantly different than women in other cultures at the time? We can’’t make them into modern feminists or anything like that; it is a very different culture. At the same time, I think all of Celtic culture was much more egalitarian –– not democratic, but much more egalitarian, sexually, than the Greco-Roman world ever had been. There were many more important female figures in the Irish past than there were ever in ancient Rome. Medb is the perfect example of that, but she’’s not the only one. The famous Celtic queen Boudica who fought the Romans and really fought them to a standstill –– neither one of those figures, one of them literary, Medb, and the other one histori-

cal, no one could ever imagine a female figure among the Greeks or Romans with that kind of importance and centrality to the culture. So it was different and remained different for a long time. The medieval Irish retained a lot of that, which is why you can have –– there’’s no female figure on the continent that has as much importance as Brigid. They finally become a part of the larger European world, and then women become less important.

For me the whole point of the book is about literacy and the power that literacy gives people, and specifically that the Irish saw no value in censorship. What the Irish understood –– they did understand the value of literacy, that’’s probably the main reason why it had become such a big deal to them so early. But what they also understood was the value of pleasure in reading. They became the great anthologists of the early Middle Ages because they were willing to look at anything. They were not censorious. They did not think that there were things that had to be left out. Certainly many of the church fathers felt and many non-Irish felt that censorship, school censorship and state censorship, was very important. And [the Irish] actually never bought that –– of course, they did in the 20th century, unfortunately, but that’’s after many terrible things had happened to them and their own essential culture had been so demolished and debased. They’’d become the tools of an extremely regressive and lifedenying form of Christianity. I think the disinterest in censorship

And now a lot of Catholics are struggling with their relationship with the church. I think they’’re doing more than struggling with their relationship with the church at this point. I think a lot of them want to just close the door on it, and for very good reason. There’’s very little hope there, unfortunately. I think that the last two popes have pretty much destroyed the church that Pope John XXIII tried to build in the early 1960s, and I don’’t see any chance of its coming back. I think you end up with a very dry and puritanical form of Christianity. Do you think that that opens the door for a different, more personal kind of Christianity to emerge? I’’d like to think so. I’’m not sure that it will. I think it’’s hanging by a thread in a way. In Ireland and in the United States, the scandal of –– not so much just the pedophilia but the cover-up of the pedophilia, which went on for generations, and was completely supported by the bishops, has left everybody feeling that they’’re unable to continue. It’’s pretty much coming to an end and there’’s nothing to replace it. You can go elsewhere, you can go to a different kind of church, you can interiorize or internalize, but you’’re not going to find a countrywide or culture-wide influence anymore, it’’s just not there. I don’’t see any way of it being brought back. What are you working on now? Right now I’’m working on Volume Six of the Hinges of History series, which will be about the Renaissance and IA Reformation. OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 73



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By Edythe Preet

Blow, Winds, Blow!

Creamy fish chowder and a platter of crispy fish and chips prove the perfect food to ride out a storm. Memory is a slippery thing. Mine works like a photo album that randomly opens to a moment in time then snaps shut and reopens on another page. Storms have left some of the most permanent imprints.




he twin hurricanes Connie and Diane that walloped the East Coast while my family vacationed on the Jersey shore back in 1955 were certainly something that I should be able to recall in a video stream, but even that awesome event only left the memory of a flooded back yard and cardboard-covered windows, plus the fact that, to a backdrop of howling wind and torrential rain, I learned to play pinochle. The blizzard that buried Philadelphia on Christmas Eve 1963 is also easy to recall. We slogged through knee-deep drifts for a mile to my aunt’’s home and the night’’s traditional Italian Feast of Seven Fishes. Then there’’s the thunderstorm that roared in from the Pacific while I lived in Sydney, Australia. It was so fierce I could track its passage across the city as car alarms were triggered by lightning strikes. Weather is something we don’’t get very much of here in Los Angeles. Ireland, on the other hand, has weather aplenty. What LA meteorologists would call a ‘‘storm’’ the Irish would brush off as a ‘‘soft mist.’’ I’’ve experienced many versions of Ireland’’s rain, but the most vividly etched memory occurred the day I drove out to Hook Head Lighthouse. Perched at the end of a rocky spit of land at the southernmost tip of County Wexford, Hook Head marks the entrance to the safe harbor that lies between Hook and Crook Peninsulas, which flank the estuary formed by the three sisterrivers, the Nore, Suir, and Barrow. The channel entered proverb history when Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland by sailing up the sheltered waters swearing to ““take Ireland by Hook or by Crook.”” The drive itself is memorable. A narrow road hugs the craggy shore where signs warn: ““Beware blowholes and rogue waves!”” The language made me chuckle but the reality is grim. More than one foolhardy rock climber has been swept into the crashing surf stirred up by strong onshore winds. The autumn day I chose to visit couldn’’t have been more per74 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Hook Head, County Wexford. Left: Hook Head Lighthouse.

fect. A dilly of a storm was blowing in from the Atlantic. The sky was the ominous shade of gray that promises fat raindrops at any moment. I gripped the wheel tight every time my little car was buffeted by gusts whooshing up from the sea. Salty spindrift splattered the windshield. By the time I reached the lighthouse, radio reports were gauging the blow at Gale Force 8. That’’s 40-45 mph and only four measures short of a full-scale hurricane! The Keeper of the Light answered his door with an incredulous look that someone would want to visit in such inclement weather, but I convinced him this snip of a gal (I was younger then) had the right stuff to reach the tower’’s top and experience an Irish gale firsthand. As we climbed the more than one hundred steps, I learned the history of Ireland’’s oldest lighthouse, which has guided mariners to safety for more than 1,600 years. In the 5th century St. Dubhan maintained a fire beacon on the headland as a warning to all who might venture into the rocky inlet. After his death, intrepid monks kept the beacon going for another six centuries. Legend holds that a monk lies entombed behind one of the cells off the tower steps. Between 1170 and



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RECIPES 1184, the Normans built the present lighthouse from local limestone cemented together with a mixture of burned lime and ox blood. The 9- to 13-foot thick walls rise 80 feet above ground. In 1972, the beacon was electrified and a booming foghorn replaced the black powder warning ‘‘gun’’ which had been fired every five minutes whenever fog enveloped the coastline. In 1996, the lighthouse was made fully automatic. As we paused in the lantern room to catch our breath, the 360degree view out to sea and back across the landscape was stunning. Far below, the sea crashed against the rocks sending spray high into the air. During severe storms, waves actually splash against the lantern room windows! Assuring the Keeper that I would hold tight to the guardrail, we stepped outside to the catwalk. Truthfully, I only remember the climb vaguely, but I will never forget what it felt like to stand at the tower’’s top in the Gale Force 8. The wind tore at my trenchcoat and it billowed like a sail. My hair flew in all directions and my eyes watered. For a few minutes, we stood there silently taking in the power of the brewing storm. The next scene my slippery memory recalls is set in one of the snug Hook Head cottages with a glowing peat fire warming the hearth and a hot cup of tea warming my hands. The crockery bore the crest and motto of the Commissioners of Irish Lights: In Salutem Omnium (For the Safety of All). As I sipped the sweet milky brew, the Keeper told me about the lives of those who had manned Hook Head Lighthouse before his time. Prior to the light’’s automation, three Keepers and their families lived on the site, keeping watches of four hours on and eight hours off, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In good weather the beacon was lit at dusk and powered with paraffin that had to be carried up the tower from the fuel storage room. After dawn the fire was extinguished, the burner was cleaned, and the Keeper on watch recorded the weather conditions and any unusual events in a logbook. In bad weather or fog, the beacon burned around the clock. During daylight hours brasswork was polished, the stairs were swept and washed, the lantern room windows were cleaned, and every nook and cranny of the cottages and grounds was kept shipshape. Come spring, the tower was whitewashed so it could be seen far out to sea. Even while occupied with these tasks, the Keepers kept a constant watch on the horizon. The rain started falling in earnest as I pulled away from the lighthouse. By the time I reached the nearby village of Duncannon, it had become a downpour. Seeking refuge in the local pub, I waited for the storm to subside over a mug of creamy fish chowder and a platter of crispy fish and chips, fare that had fed many a lighthouse family for centuries. In 2000, the Hook Head Lighthouse compound was converted into a visitor center. The medieval tower is open to visitors and the lightkeepers’’ cottages hold a café and craft shops featuring the work of local artisans. If you love lighthouses, the next time you’’re in Ireland book a stay at one of the self-catering Lights operated by the Irish Landmark Trust (www.irishlandmark.com). Wicklow Head Lighthouse has safeguarded the Wicklow Coast since 1781, and the view out over the Irish Sea from its 95-foot height will take your breath away even on a cloudless day. If you get really lucky and a storm blows in, the memory will last a lifetime. IA Sláinte!

Creamy Fish Chowder 2 1 11⁄2 1 2 2 2 2 11⁄2 11⁄2

tbsp diced bacon onion, diced tsp butter tsp minced fresh thyme tbsp flour large potatoes, peeled & diced cups fish stock or clam broth bay leaves pounds cod or haddock filets, skinned & cut in chunks cups half-and-half Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 ⁄4 cup minced fresh parsley In a soup pot, cook the bacon over low heat until it begins to brown, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion, butter, and thyme and sauté until the onion is soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the potatoes, stock or broth, and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Add the fish and half-and-half. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the parsley. Makes 4 servings.

– Irish Heritage Cookbook, Margaret Johnson

Fish & Chips 1 ⁄4 1 ⁄4 1 ⁄2 3 ⁄4 4

egg yolk cup beer cup water tsp salt, plus salt to taste cup flour large baking potatoes, peeled Canola oil for frying 1 egg white 1 pound haddock, boned, skinned and cut into 2-inch chunks Freshly ground pepper to taste Malt vinegar for serving Lemon wedges In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, beer, water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick strips and place in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloring. Fill an electric skillet, deep fryer, or Dutch oven 2/3 full with Canola oil and heat it to 375°F. While the oil is heating, beat the egg white until soft peaks form, then fold it into the batter to lighten it. Dip the fish in the batter and fry, in batches, until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to paper towels to drain. Place the fillets on a baking sheet and transfer to a 200°F oven to keep warm. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. In the same pan used to fry the fish, reheat the oil to 375°F. Fry the potatoes, in batches, until brown, 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately with the fish, with malt vinegar and lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings. 1

– Irish Heritage Cookbook, Margaret Johnson NOTE: The success of these recipes depends on the freshness of the fish. Do not use frozen fish! OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010 IRISH AMERICA 75



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By Darina Molloy


1 Historic former prison in Dublin (10) 7 See 21 down (7) 9 This magazine rated Brian Cowen in the Top 10 of world leaders (8) 12 Code name given to French beach which took a huge hit during the Normandy landings of WWII (5) 13 He and his money are soon parted (4) 14 Geographically, this is the smallest self-governing county in the U.S. (9) 17 Cork river (3) 19 This recently departed George owned the New York Yankees (12) 20 See 35 down (3) 22 This Ms. Malone wheeled her wheelbarrow ““through streets broad and narrow”” (5) 24 Poetic middle (5) 27 Poet Cummings (1, 1) 29 See 8 down (5) 31 One who makes and dispenses glasses (8) 32 Amazon’’s reading device (6) 34 (& 5 down) ___ __ mBlath: Where Michael Collins was killed in 1922 (4) 36 This Mayo house celebrated 50 years of being open to the public in August (8) 38 Reclusive Irish singer (4) 39 (& 40 down) This year’’s Rose of Tralee host (6) 41 (& 23 down) To Kill a Mockingbird author who sees her ground-breaking book turn 50 this year (6) 42 (& 31 down) Well-known Irish actress who turned 90 in August (7) 43 This Ms. Lynch is Glee’’s acerbic Sue Sylvester (4)

DOWN 2 3 4 5

Anger (3) Alabama hometown of 41 across (11) This home is for the birds (4) See 34 across (2)

6 (& 30 down) Bronx-born author and James Patterson writing partner (7) 8 (& 29 across) Iconic Canadian singer who hailed his hero W.B. Yeats at historic Sligo concert in July (7) 10 British nobleman ranking above a viscount (4) 11 42 across was born with this last name (10) 15 Latest thriller starring Cillian Murphy (9) 16 Kerry’’s county town (6) 18 Sligo cemetery where W.B. Yeats is buried (10) 21 (& 7 across) 30 Rock’’s Jack Donaghy (4) 23 See 41 across (3) 25 English version of 39 across first name (5) 26 Louth peninsula (6)

Win a subscription to Irish America magazine Please send your completed crossword puzzle to Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10001, to arrive no later than October 31, 2010. A winner will be drawn from among all correct entries. If there are no correct solutions, the prize will be awarded for the completed puzzle which comes closest in the opinion of our staff. Winner’’s name will be published along with the solution in our next issue. Xerox copies are acceptable. Winner of the August/September Crossword: Sean Reilly, Duxbury, Massachusetts 76 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

28 Salutation offered by Edythe Preet (7) 30 See 6 down (8) 31 See 42 across (5) 33 This report gave some comfort to Bloody Sunday families this year (7) 34 Australian actor Eric ___ (4) 35 (& 20 across) This forest park is in Co. Roscommon (5) 37 Irish John (4) 40 See 39 across (1, 2)

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{those we lost} Denis E. Dillon 1933-2010

Harold Connolly 1931-2010

Harold Connolly, who won the gold medal in the hammer throw at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died in Maryland on August 19. He was 79. His son Adam Connolly reported that he died of a heart attack. After suffering from severe nerve paralysis as a child, Connolly underwent serious physical therapy and began a training regimen of strength conditioning, weight lifting and athletic activity at Brighton High School in Massachusetts, and Boston College. A four-time Olympian, he set American, world and Olympic records in the hammer throw. After winning his gold medal in Melbourne, Connolly began a romantic relationship with Czechoslovakian gold medalist in discus throwing, Olga Fikotová. They married in a public ceremony in Prague, but divorced in 1974. After an illustrious career as a competitive athlete, Connolly coached throwing at Georgetown and Boston universities. He was the executive director of U.S. programs for the Special Olympics from 1988-1999. A statue of Connolly by sculptor Pablo Eduardo has stood in Brighton since 2005. Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Pat Winslow Connolly, and six children from his two marriages. –– KR 78 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

Denis E. Dillon, the long-standing District Attorney of Nassau County, died early on the morning of August 15 at his home in Rockville Center after a long battle with lymphoma. Dillon was first elected as Nassau County District Attorney in 1974 as a Democrat, but then switched to the Republican party in 1989 in support of its anti-abortion stance. He continued to serve as the D.A. until 2005, overseeing many notable cases. He was considered unique among his peers for holding firmly to his personal beliefs, sometimes even at the cost of his political aspirations. Born in 1933 in the Bronx, Dillon also lived in Woodlawn, N.Y., Arlington, Va and Rockaway Beach, N.Y. He attended Fordham Law School and worked as a police officer in New York City while studying for his degree. Dillon was a devoted Roman Catholic and is remembered by family and friends as loving Irish music, culture, and limericks. He is survived by his wife Anne and their two daughters, Barbara and Anne Marie. –– SL

Memories”” radio program, and Hayden Cudahy took his place after his death in 1943. She hosted the show until 1990, which earned her the unofficial title ““The First Lady of Irish Radio.”” A collection of her papers relating to the show is held by the Archives of Irish America. She was married to John Cudahy, with whom she had a son, Sean. She is survived by her granddaughter and many nieces and nephews. –– SL

Dorothy Hayden Cudahy

Alex Higgins

Dorothy Hayden Cudahy, a pioneering figure in New York’’s Irish-American community, passed away on August 5. She was 88. In 1989 Hayden Cudahy was the first female Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’’s Day parade. She was also the first woman and the first American-born person to be elected president of the County Kilkenny Association. In addition, she was a member of the A.O.H and a trustee of the Irish Institute. Hayden Cudahy was born in Manhattan on May 29, 1922. Her mother was Delia Brennan of Co. Sligo and her father was James Hayden, from Co. Kilkenny. Hayden was the host of the popular ““Irish

Rising from a working-class lifestyle in Belfast, Alex Higgins abandoned ambitions for jockey gold to pursue a sport little known on this side of the pond –– snooker. The billiard game with 6 pockets and 22 balls originated among British soldiers in India in the 19th century. Its rules are complicated and its fan base fierce. Higgins joined the professional snooker world to earn two worldchampionship titles and the nickname ‘‘Hurricane’’ thanks to his aggressive style. Alexander Higgins, called Sandy as a boy, was born in Belfast on March 18, 1949. He began playing snooker at a local pub, the Jampot, when he was 11. Higgins won his first championship at age 22, his first attempt at the title, and quickly rose to an iconic status in the snooker circuit not only for his talent but



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also for his charismatic and somewhat crass behavior. Known for his drinking and physical altercations with tournament directors and opponents, Higgins was a dark but lively figure in the sport. His home life was tabloid heaven with stories of furious and violent girlfriends and two wives. He was the subject of a 2001 biography, Eye of the Hurricane, and of a 2004 one-man play, Hurricane, as well as the 1991 documentary I’’m No Angel. Higgins was found dead in his home in Belfast on July 24. He was 61 and had been battling throat cancer for 12 years. Higgins is survived by his daughter and son. –– TD

films, and the TV series Ros na Rún. Everyone from his fellow Druid members to Taioseach Brian Cowen has expressed their sadness over Lally’’s death and their great admiration for his work. Lally was born in Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo and was the eldest of seven siblings. He is survived by his wife, Peggy, and their three children, Sailego, Darach, and Maghnus. –– SL

Mick Lally 1945-2010

Mick Lally, one of the most widely known actors in Ireland, died in hospital on August 31 after a brief illness. As an actor, Lally was most famous for his long run as Miley Byrne on the TV show Glenroe, and for his roles on the BBC’’s Ballykissangel and Ballroom of Romance. More recently, he starred in Oliver Stone’’s Alexander and was the voice of Aidan the monk in the Oscarnominated The Secret of Kells. Off screen, Lally was a key figure in Irish theater. After a few years teaching history and Irish, Lally founded the famous Druid Theater Company with Garry Hines and Marie Mullen in 1975. His stage career really took off when he was cast in the 1981 premiere of Brian Friel’’s Translations. He went on to be in over twenty productions at the Abbey Theater. Fluent in Irish, he was also in many Irish-language performances and

also broad-jumped over 8 feet, jumped a 3-foot hurdle, climbed an 8-foot fence and vaulted another four-feet-six-inches during a run, all of which he finished in 10.8 seconds. In a separate test, he ran 120 yards carrying two 50-pound dumbbells in 25 seconds. His unheard-of perfect score caught the attention of the media, with The New York Times dubbing him the ““Perfect Man”” in a June 13, 1940 headline. McCabe only stayed with the job for about a year, moving on to become a police officer and then a firefighter. However, he continued to stay in shape for the rest of his life, playing semipro baseball, tennis and golf. He also played racquetball twice a week until he was 82. McCabe is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret; two sons; two daughters; five grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. –– AO’’N

Patricia Neal 1926-2010

William McCabe 1920-2010

When New York City-native Bill McCabe sought the position of street cleaner in 1940, the physical component of the application was known as the ““Superman test.”” Shocking the Sanitation Department and the media, McCabe received a 100, the only recorded instance of a perfect score. He died at age 90 on July 17 at his home in Bethpage, NY. Born William Joseph McCabe on March 31, 1920 in the Bronx, he was the son of William and Nora McCabe. His father was a construction worker and trained him in lifting weights, according to McCabe’’s son, Kevin. In 1940, McCabe joined 68,000 men applying for the street cleaner position, which paid $35 a week. The sanitation department, looking to fill only 2,000 available positions, tested applicants with an extremely rigorous physical test, far from the easier version used today. McCabe’’s test included lifting a 120pound trashcan to a 4-foot-6-inch ledge and lifting a 60-pound barbell placed behind his head while on his back. He

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal died August 8 at her home in Edgartown, Massachusetts. She had a dazzling career on stage and screen that showcased her lifelong passion for acting. Born Patsy Lou Neal in the coal mining town of Packard, Kentucky, Neal attended Northwestern University as a drama major and left for New York when she heard that the Theater Guild was looking for a tall girl to star in Eugene O’’Neill’’s A Moon for the Misbegotten. O’’Neill was impressed with her acting and she had soon found success on Broadway. Before age 21, she scored a Tony, a Donaldson Award and a New York Drama Critics for her debut in Another Part of the Forest, and appeared on the


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{those we lost}

Jack O’Connell 1921-2010

Jack O’’Connell, the CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan who became King Hussein’’s diplomatic advisor and later his personal lawyer, died July 12 of congestive heart failure in Arlington County, Virginia. He was 88. Jack O’’Connell was born John William O’’Connell on August 18, 1921 in Flandreau, South Dakota. He began his higher education at University of Notre Dame, where he played defensive end on a football scholarship until a car accident left him unable to play. He then transferred to Georgetown University where he graduated from the School of Foreign Service 80 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

lawyer and political advisor until the king’’s death in 1999. O’’Connell is survived by two children from his first marriage, Kelly and Sean, who both live in Virginia. He is also survived by a grandson. O’’Connell’’s memoir is set to be published in 2011. –– AO’’N

Paul Ryan Rudd 1940-2010 PHOTO BY MARK VOHWINKEL

cover of Life magazine. With a Warner Brothers contract, she was off to Hollywood to star opposite Ronald Reagan in John Loves Mary and to play the lead in The Fountainhead, based on Ayn Rand’’s novel. Neal fell in love with Gary Cooper, who played opposite her, and their affair lasted for three years. Neither movie did well in box offices. Neal starred in several more movies before her contract with Warner Brothers was broken and she was back on Broadway to star in Lillian Hellman’’s The Children’’s Hour in 1952. Through Hellman, Neal met childrens’’ author Roald Dahl, who she married in 1953. Their thirty-year marriage suffered several tragedies, including the brain damage of their four-month-old son Theo in a traffic accident and the death of their daughter Olivia at age 7. Neal experienced a comeback at the end of the 1950s in more Broadway productions and performances on the big screen opposite John Wayne, including Hud, for which Neal won the best actress Oscar. But at age 39 and pregnant with her fifth child, Neal began experiencing strokes that would leave her in a temporary coma and take away her abilities to walk and speak, which she regained through Dahl’’s harsh determination that she would recover. In 1983, Neal and Dahl were divorced when she uncovered an extensive affair he had maintained with one of her close friends. Dahl died in 1990. Neal focused on fundraising for braindamaged individuals in her later life. She is survived by her four children, a brother, a sister, ten grandchildren and step grandchildren and one great-grandchild. –– KR

in 1946 after a serving in the army during World War II. O’’Connell received his law degree in 1948 and immediately joined the CIA, which sent him to the University of the Punjab in Pakistan on a Fulbright scholarship. There he received a master’’s degree in Islamic law in 1952. He also received a doctorate in international law from Georgetown in 1958. O’’Connell’’s first encounter with King Hussein occurred in 1958 when he traveled to Jordan on his first foreign CIA assignment to stop a coup attempt on the king’’s throne. His success in foiling the attempt led to a friendship that would last decades. As station chief of Jordan from 1963-1971, one of O’’Connell’’s top priorities was to help expand the powers of the Jordanian intelligence service throughout the 70s with CIA funding. Today, Jordan is still considered one of America’’s most important allies in the Middle East due to its strong intelligence service. Well-known in Jordan, the tough Midwesterner once tripped and broke his leg walking out of the Jordanian Foreign Ministry. When someone suggested that he see a doctor, O’’Connell replied, ““Irishmen don’’t wear casts,”” and simply used a cane until the broken leg healed. O’’Connell retired from the CIA by 1972 and moved back to the U.S., but his relationship with Hussein remained strong. He was Hussein’’s personal

Paul Ryan Rudd, a notable stage and television actor from the 1970s and 80s, died on August 12 at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut due to pancreatic cancer. Rudd’’s acting career began in his late twenties, following an amicable departure from the Roman Catholic seminary where he had been studying to join the priesthood. He started off working with regional theater companies and then made his Broadway debut in 1974. His memorable performances included lead roles in Eugene O’’Neill’’s Ah! Wilderness, a revival of Tennessee Williams’’ The Glass Menagerie, and a 1976 production of Romeo and Juliet. His television credits ranged from the role of an Irish chauffeur on Beacon Hill to playing John F. Kennedy in the NBC movie Johnnie We Hardly Knew Ye. Rudd was born in Boston in 1933 and attended Fairfield University. He is survived by his wife, their three children, IA and his mother. –– SL

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{photo album}

Family Pictures

Ireland Calling

Marion Delaney at about age 18 on the occasion of her prom. The beautiful dress was rented.


or nearly 100 years my mother never knew that she had any living relatives in Ireland. In essence, her connection to Ireland is the reverse of what people do today in searching for their roots. The Irish side searched for her, and at age 98, they found her. This happened because someone of her generation died without a will, and one special person, Ned Egan, decided it was time to look for the descendants of the clan who had emigrated. After a four-year search my mother was the only one found. It was a cloudy day in November 1999. I answered the phone and a lilting Irish voice asked if this was the home of Marion Delaney. The caller was Maire MacConghaill, a genealogist from Dublin. ““Her family from Tipperary has been searching for her,”” she said. Marion Egan Delaney, my mother, was the daughter of Philip Egan of County Tipperary, who immigrated to America in 1888. He married Margaret McArthur from County Clare in 1897 and they had three children. When Marion was 6 months old, her brothers, ages 2 and 4, died on the same day of scarlet fever. Marion survived the dreaded disease, but it left her hearing seriously impaired. A few years later, her mother died. Following the death of her mother, for a short period of time, Marion lived in the Home for Destitute Catholic Children on Harrison Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts until her father was able to find a suitable home for her. He remained in her life until his death in 1935, but he never told her about his 11 brothers and sisters or life in Ireland. Marion grew into a beautiful woman who married, had 8 children, 17 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, but communication with Ireland was completely severed until that stupendous day in November, 1999 when I answered the phone. That call bridged a gap of almost 113 years. By this time in her life, Marion had developed dementia and couldn’’t quite grasp the enormity of this discovery, but her children could. Calls were made from both sides of the Atlantic and friendships established with cousins from four generations. In March of 2001 the first Irish relative, Siobhan, a stewardess with Aer Lingus who had made many transcontinental flights to Boston, came to meet my mother. Ned Egan, who had initiated the search for Marion, his wife Nonie and daughter Orla, who live in the original homestead where my grandfather was born, followed in June. A joyous reunion took place, a glorious occasion, and bittersweet, a true celebration of my mother’’s beautiful life. They brought her a pin

depicting the tale of The Children of Lir. Like The Children of Lir, whose voices were banished in Ireland for nearly 900 years, my mother’’s voice was heard after nearly 100 years by family who had traveled across the bogs and valleys of Ireland to the U.S. to meet her. On December 10, 2001, Marion Egan Delaney died, but she did not leave us orphaned. Her final gift to us was an extraordinary, loving family in County Tipperary, Ireland. In June 2002, we made our way to our grandfather’’s birthplace with renewed pride in our Irish heritage and the brave young people, like our grandparents Margaret and Philip, who left everything to start a new life in America. IA – Patricia A. Delaney, Malden, Massachusetts

Please send photographs along with your name, address, phone number, and a brief description, to Kara Rota at Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10001. If photos are irreplaceable, then please send a good quality reproduction or e-mail the picture at 300 dpi resolution to Irishamag@aol.com. No photocopies, please. We will pay $65 for each submission that we select. 82 IRISH AMERICA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2010

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Profile for Irish America Magazine

Irish America October / November 2010  

The fifth annual Stars of the South issue, celebrating the Irish American community in the southern United States. Featuring Sean Sexton’s r...

Irish America October / November 2010  

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